As has become my habit, I made a number of test purchases on eBay and Amazon over the Black Friday weekend. Some of the purchases were genuine for Christmas presents, others were made purely to check the service and see how the two marketplaces compared and if they could maintain their normal service at the busiest time of the year.
I should emphasis that all my Amazon purchases were either from Amazon or from sellers using Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA).
Amazon as you might expect were pretty well set up to deliver the deluge of orders placed over the Black Friday weekend. There was only one exception to their next day delivery promise on the 10 orders I placed on the site. Orders were in the main delivered by Amazon Logistics, but one (actually two orders which Amazon consolidated into one) arrived via Royal Mail and another arrived via Yodel.
The one order that was delivered late came via Amazon Logistics. Amazon’s communications of their failure was superb with an email arriving at 18.13 on Monday titled “Important Information Regarding Your Amazon.co.uk Order” and saying “We’re sorry to tell you that there may be a delay in delivering your order. Please allow an additional day or two for the parcel to arrive“.
Amazon added “We pride ourselves on meeting our promises and apologise for letting you down this time. Our priority is to get your parcel to you as soon as possible“. The parcel arrived on the Tuesday, just one day late.
Since the weekend we believe Amazon is still busy, we’ve spotted that Amazon have increased their standard “Next Day Delivery” promise to predict deliveries within two days.
Amazon do have their problems
Whilst Amazon’s delivery service performed superbly with just one glitch, I did receive an order which confounds me. A delivery arrived with my Amazon saved address on it (an address I only use on Amazon), which contained a “Nightwish, Endless Forms Most Beautiful” CD. I hadn’t ordered the product.
I could understand if the wrong label got put on an incorrect parcel, but all of my other Amazon orders duly arrived with the tracking numbers Amazon had provided. The tracking number on the CD parcel didn’t match any of the tracking numbers I was expecting.
Upon telephoning Amazon, I’m amazed to discover that their support staff didn’t appear to have the ability to search for a tracking number and match it up to an order number. They eventually told me just to keep the item and not bother to return it – I’m guessing that it’s hard for them to generate a return without a corresponding order number!
The thing is I’ve toured an Amazon Distribution Centre and everything is highly automated, it’s a machine which attaches labels to packages and whilst it’s hard to see how it could put the wrong label on a parcel it’s even harder to understand how a label and tracking number were generated for a non-existent order. Somehow a pick list was generated a product packed and a label produced, but how?
I’d love to know how this mistake came about and how frequently these things happen.
Amazon Black Friday delivery summary
Overall Amazon appear to have performed way better than in 2014, at least based on my personal experience.
Last year I had one parcel which from memory took nine days to arrive (albeit on SuperSaver delivery so it was in reality no more than four days late). This year I had just one out of ten orders delivered later than expected and even then by just one day.
Amazon have invested mind bogglingly large sums of money in their logistics infrastructure and it appears to have paid off. However even the mighty Amazon is struggling to keep up based on their two-day delivery estimate instead of normal one-day delivery promise.
You can also read our eBay Black Friday/Cyber Monday round up here.