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#1
Old 12-27-2011, 10:39 PM
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Why does Amazon Prime default to many little shipments? (instead of grouping items together)

Amazon Prime members get free 2nd day UPS shipping for everything that is labelled Amazon Prime (which is almost everything that Amazon sells directly, a lot of stuff.

If you get more than one thing, however, you are given a choice of shipping the items as fast as possible (for me usually in individual boxes) or grouping them in 'as few as possible', generally putting more items in one box.

But weirdly Amazon defaults to the 'as fast as possible' which means more individual boxes. It's generally difficult to switch and I doubt most people do.

I thought that while heavier and larger boxes cost more to ship, it still saves money to ship one medium sized box instead of two small ones (I realize for really heavy things it should be single boxed but I'm referring to general small or medium sized items).

So what is with Amazon? Does their executive board secretly own lots of UPS stock? You would think it would default to fewer shipments, offering impatient customers the option to get it quicker, and the average dude to save them money on shipping few boxes. Explain it to me, dope-a-ronis!
#2
Old 12-27-2011, 10:53 PM
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I'd question the assumptions in your final paragraph.

IMHO, the 2-day shipping is a giant mega super-duper boon to their sales. I know my ordering has skyrocketed since getting Prime, as have the ordering of the several people who convinced me to give it a shot. By making it the default, they keep more customers happy than making them jump through further hoops to keep getting everything in two days (or one freakin' day for 4 bucks.
#3
Old 12-27-2011, 11:00 PM
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Check the actual source of your shipments. I got annoyed a week or two back having selected "super saver shipping" to see my order split into three separate shipments. Once I looked closer, I saw all three were coming from different Amazon "authorized associates". That explains it.
#4
Old 12-27-2011, 11:04 PM
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I don't give a crap how many envelopes and/or boxes it comes in; it's no cost to me and I still get everything in 2 days.

Last edited by Snowboarder Bo; 12-27-2011 at 11:04 PM.
#5
Old 12-27-2011, 11:19 PM
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The OP is looking at it from the wrong angle. As a consumer which shipping option would be your preference? Getting the stuff as quickly as possible! If I'm willing to wait for my stuff I wouldn't be a Prime customer. Amazon has wisely figured that out. And from Amazon's perspective it may cost them a tad more in shipping (though I'm not sure that's true), but I'm sure it's more than offset by more sales and the annual charges paid by its Prime customers.
#6
Old 12-27-2011, 11:22 PM
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One reason is they could be coming from different warehouses. If you have them sent faster, then each warehouse will box them up and ship them out on their own...but if you want them all in one box, then one warehouse has to ship to the other and THEN box them all up to ship to you.
#7
Old 12-27-2011, 11:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bouv View Post
One reason is they could be coming from different warehouses. If you have them sent faster, then each warehouse will box them up and ship them out on their own...but if you want them all in one box, then one warehouse has to ship to the other and THEN box them all up to ship to you.
This.
Even if everything you buy is sold by Amazon, and not other authorized sellers, they have warehouses all over the country, so not everything you order is coming from the same place.
#8
Old 12-28-2011, 12:53 AM
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When you don't have Prime, they give you the option to group everything into as few shipments as possible, or to send things more quickly with potentially more shipments. The latter costs more money. As a Prime member, you are getting that option for "free."
#9
Old 12-28-2011, 10:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bouv View Post
One reason is they could be coming from different warehouses. If you have them sent faster, then each warehouse will box them up and ship them out on their own...but if you want them all in one box, then one warehouse has to ship to the other and THEN box them all up to ship to you.
That's not what they do. I always choose the cheaper, fewer-boxes option, and they will often send stuff in several boxes anyway. They do whatever is cheaper and/or more convenient for them.
#10
Old 12-28-2011, 10:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ichbin Dubist View Post
That's not what they do. I always choose the cheaper, fewer-boxes option, and they will often send stuff in several boxes anyway. They do whatever is cheaper and/or more convenient for them.
It's not cheaper for them. It's better policy for making customers happy.

The cost is substantial, but Amazon treats it internally as a promotional cost. Rather than buying an ad to tell customers how wonderful it is, it ships products a bit faster and eats the extra mailing fee.

Advertising is a tax-deductible business expense. I wouldn't be surprised if Amazon's accountants get to deduct faster mailings in the same way. That's smart business. And why so many other companies have imitated them.
#11
Old 12-28-2011, 11:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by No Wikipedia Cites View Post
I thought that while heavier and larger boxes cost more to ship, it still saves money to ship one medium sized box instead of two small ones (I realize for really heavy things it should be single boxed but I'm referring to general small or medium sized items).
The extra cost of shipping multiple boxes is probably much smaller for Amazon than it is for you or me. Their entire shipping chain is heavily automated and high throughput, so most of the extra costs of having an extra box are minimized.
#12
Old 12-30-2011, 12:08 AM
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One of the main reasons that a lot of companies in general do that is to make a lot of money. I found some old, extremely hard to find old books at astoundingly low prices (.76 to 2.57). I ordered a bunch of them that totaled up to about 16 bucks, but when I went to checkout, the grand total was something like 72 bucks.

The more you charge for shipping, the cheaper you can sell your product. It's a strategic marketing technique.
#13
Old 03-11-2012, 02:31 PM
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I find the whole Amazon Prime thing thoroughly amusing.

Because most people do not realize Amazon simply marks up the item with the shipping cost. Then grandiously says "shipping free".

So they are paying more and loving it.

Last edited by wamatt; 03-11-2012 at 02:31 PM.
#14
Old 03-11-2012, 02:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wamatt View Post
I find the whole Amazon Prime thing thoroughly amusing.

Because most people do not realize Amazon simply marks up the item with the shipping cost. Then grandiously says "shipping free".

So they are paying more and loving it.
Not all the time. I've purchased several "lost leaders" and shipping was free. In one case, I bought two cell phone silicone covers for less than two dollars each and two-day shipping was free, from Hong Kong! I often check the manufacturer's web site to see if buying from them direct, or another reseller, would be cheaper (including shipping). Amazon wins hands down.
#15
Old 03-11-2012, 02:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duckster View Post
Not all the time. I've purchased several "lost leaders" and shipping was free. In one case, I bought two cell phone silicone covers for less than two dollars each and two-day shipping was free, from Hong Kong! I often check the manufacturer's web site to see if buying from them direct, or another reseller, would be cheaper (including shipping). Amazon wins hands down.
Interesting. I'll keep an eye out for that... Thanks!
#16
Old 03-11-2012, 02:59 PM
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Yeah, wamatt, I agree with Duckster that the answer is "not always" and maybe even a "not ever." If you log out (or even go to a different computer so you're not cookied) and browse as a regular Joe Customer you don't get different pricing.

Example, I order a case of cat food -- three cats eat a lot of Friskies! -- and as a non-Prime member, ordering a case of 24 cans will cost me $12.50 plus $19.15 in shipping/handling if I want it in two days. Amazon Prime's cost for the same food, same two day shipping, is just $12.50.

Order this four times and I've already saved the cost of Amazon Prime membership.

(Actually I order it regularly so I signed up for the "subscribe and save" price of $11 and change, still free shipping.)
#17
Old 03-12-2012, 01:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FatBaldGuy View Post
This.
Even if everything you buy is sold by Amazon, and not other authorized sellers, they have warehouses all over the country, so not everything you order is coming from the same place.
And every warehouse does not house the same inventory. Back when I played D&D, I purchased most of my D&D books from Amazon. I found it amusing that:

1) Amazon is located in Seattle
2) Wizards of the Coast, publisher of D&D, is located in Renton, a "suburb" of Seatle
3) I live in central Washington, about 300 miles from Seattle.
4) My D&D books were all being shipped to me from a warehouse on the East Coast.

Though it did eventually occur to me that, although WotC is located in Renton, it was highly possible that their books were actually manufactured closer to the East Coast, and if so it would make more sense to ship large quantities of heavy, hardcover books from the printer to the nearest Amazon warehouse, instead of shipping the whole load all the way back to Seattle.
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