Amazon has made important changes to the automated handling time feature for seller-fulfilled orders. These updates are designed to help protect brands from order surges during the holiday shopping season. Amazon’s goal is to show more accurate delivery promises to shoppers, which can help boost brand sales.
What is Automatic Handling Time?
Automated handling time is a feature that sets a handling time for every SKU based on a brand’s past performance. The feature is designed to make the delivery date on a brand’s offers more attractive to customers. In September 2023, Amazon introduced the following improvements for automated handling time:
- Same-Day Handling Time: Automated handling time will now apply a same-day handling time to SKUs that you ship on the day that you receive an order, which will show more accurate delivery promises.
- Override for Order-Handling Capacity: Automated handling time will set your order-handling capacity based on your past performance, but you now have the option to manually override it if your operations improve.
- Option to Revert to Previous Handling time: If you decide to switch off automated handling time, it will revert your SKU-specific handling time to what it was before you enabled this feature. Now, you can try the feature without losing your pre-configured values.
Amazon Shortens Default Handling Time Option
Amazon has also removed the 2-day Default Handling Time option for brands enrolled in FBM. The company stated that 85% of the time, sellers fulfill orders within 1 day of receiving an order. This implies that the update will only affect some brands. However, brands that have 2-day as their default will be automatically switched to 1-day. To protect the account metrics for brands that had set 2-day Default Handling Time, Amazon will update their SKU-Specific Handling Time on their behalf in the following ways:
- For SKUs where you have historically taken more than 1-day to handle orders, and do not have a SKU level handling time set, Amazon will automatically set a 2-day SKU-Specific Handling Time, which will override your Default Handling Time.
- For SKUs where you have historically taken 1-day or less to handle orders, and do not have a SKU level handling time set, Amazon will not assign a SKU-Specific Handling Time. Therefore, your updated Default Handling Time of 1-day will apply.
- For SKUs that previously had a SKU-Specific Handling Time, there will be no changes applied.
Note: Brands can set an Order Handling Capacity to protect their business from surges of orders. They can also set a SKU-specific Handling Time. This is helpful when brands are confident that most of their SKUs can ship within 1 day but have some products that may take longer. For these SKUs, brands can set a longer handling time that will override the Default Handling Time specifically for that SKU.
Channel Key Takeaway
According to Amazon, brands often set longer Handling Times than they need to prepare, pack, and hand-over packages to carriers. This causes shoppers browsing products to see longer-than-necessary delivery dates. By setting more accurate Handling Times, shoppers typically see more attractive delivery dates, which typically leads to more sales. Channel Key recommends reviewing your Handling Time settings for your FBM catalog – especially the SKUs you intend to promote during the holiday shopping season.