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Amazon Tracking – If you use Amazon for your fulfillment processes you need to be aware that a number of changes have been made to Amazon tracking numbers and VTR. Here is a quick guide to what’s changed since 19 April 2021.

On 19 April, Amazon made some changes with regard to the information you provide on tracking numbers, your carrier and shipping type. This new policy changes the rules of selling via the Amazon Marketplace and are likely to impact your e-commerce logistics.

You’re probably wondering what these changes mean for your e-commerce business and your logistics. This quick guide covers everything you need to know including: 

The new policy applies to any retailer who sells via the Amazon Marketplace. Starting 19 April 2021, Amazon now requires you to provide the tracking number for your shipments along with the name of the shipping company and the type of shipping you use. That means there has to be a way to track the shipment of every package you ship. 

The goal of this new Valid Tracking Rate (VTR) policy is to improve the quality of service for customers, but there are also advantages for retailers. 

VTR is a major shift in policy for the Amazon platform. Failure to comply with the new rules comes at a hefty cost: non-compliant retailers may even be barred from selling via the Marketplace. But there’s no need to worry. As long as you provide all the necessary information, you’ll be good to go. And in this guide, we’ll show you how. 

Sendcloud is also at your side to help you comply with the new rules. We offer you seamless integration of tracking numbers and shipment information. If you’re already using Sendcloud, then you don’t have to do anything at all: you’re automatically compliant with the new Amazon policy and you simply continue selling via Amazon as always.

We understand that the Amazon Marketplace has made a major impact on the e-commerce landscape. That’s why we want to offer everyone the best shipping options available. 

No matter if you’re operating a multi-channel business or selling exclusively through the Marketplace, we’ll help you by automating and integrating your shipping partner. Now, let’s look at what the new Marketplace VTR policy means, and how you can successfully comply. 

What is an Amazon tracking number?

The Amazon tracking number consists of a dataset that contains both the name of the carrier and the type of shipping. This new policy will affect all retailers who sell via Amazon, but it will also bring some advantages, as we explain below. 

The good news is that with Sendcloud, this shipping data is transferred automatically and you don’t have to do anything.

Do I have to use an Amazon tracking number?

Short answer: yes, you do. But only for shipping options that include a tracking number. That means if you are sending parcels, you will need to provide a tracking number. 

For non-trackable shipping options, like postage stamps, you don’t have to provide tracking information. It’s a good idea to do a little research on this topic so that you understand the details.

When do I have to provide a tracking number to Amazon?

Whether or not you are required to provide a tracking number to Amazon depends on your customers or the type of delivery service you use. All merchant-fulfilled shipments using delivery options that are capable of being tracked must be reported to Amazon. 

In short, that means you are required to enter a tracking number whenever you are processing an order that will be fulfilled by parcel delivery service. Providing Amazon with this additional information means extra work for you on the one hand, but Amazon Marketplace will strictly enforce this new rule, and they say it will actually benefit merchants.

What are the benefits of Amazon VTR?

The advantage of providing Amazon with the tracking numbers for your shipments is that it simplifies tracking for your customers. Now, they can always see when their package is in transit, where it currently is and what the delivery status is. 

That means you will receive fewer status queries from customers, because now they can easily find out the status of their delivery for themselves. If you are selling not only via the Amazon Marketplace but also through another platform, you may even already be offering tracking options. 

Tracking is the standard in e-commerce today. It helps you build trust with your customers, and many customers insist on it. 

Here are some of the advantages of Amazon VTR for merchants:

  • Fewer customer queries Up to 40% of customer queries in e-commerce are related to the shipping status of orders. Especially when the customer has no tracking details, they will often contact the retailer to ask when they can expect their order to arrive. With the new Amazon VTR policy, the amount of shipping-related queries you receive is expected to dramatically decline, which can be a real help with your peak season strategy
  • Lower order defect rate (ODR) Shipments sent without a tracking number have a 170% higher ODR than trackable shipments. By offering your customers the transparency of a tracking number, you can significantly decrease your ODR.
  • Protection against A-to-Z guarantee claims If an order with status ‘Order not received’ does not have a tracking number, then the merchant automatically loses in the event of an A-to-Z guarantee claim. Tracking numbers help protect you against these claims and minimise unnecessary losses. Another advantage is that you’ll receive fewer complaints in general, because your customers can always use their tracking number to figure out exactly where their shipment is.
  • Better customer reviews: The new policy will also have an emotional impact, because when customers can track their shipments, they are likelier to leave a positive review. Customer surveys have repeatedly confirmed that fast delivery and tracking are the most important motivators for them to give a positive review. 
  • Fewer packages lost in transit Tracking saves you money, because it greatly reduces the number of your shipments that get lost in transit. If a package is lost on its way to a customer, tracking enables you to figure out where it got lost and who is responsible.

Top tip – If you regularly send small items in the UK, you could benefit from letterbox delivery with trace and trace. There’s plenty of delivery options available and it could save you money!

Important: Comply with the valid tracking rate (VTR)

Amazon is using VTR as a metric for tracking whether merchants on the platform are complying with the new tracking rules. Your VTR is calculated by dividing the total number of orders you ship by the number of these orders that we shipped with a valid tracking number. 

If valid tracked shipments account for less than 95% of your total number of shipments, there may be various reasons for that. It could be that you entered the tracking information incorrectly or an error occurred on the carrier’s side. 

What’s important is that you enter a valid number into the system and make sure that the package is registered accordingly with your delivery service provider. Amazon has released a list of recommended delivery service providers, all of whom have direct interfaces and offer support with VTR-related issues.

If your VTR dips below the minimum requirement of 95%, it can have serious consequences for you and your account. You may even be banned from the Amazon Marketplace. For a first offence, Amazon will require you to provide a plan of action in which you show when you will reach the target VTR. This takes place in coordination with Amazon.

Where do I enter my Amazon tracking numbers? 

When you are fulfilling an order via Seller Central, you supply the necessary data during Ship Confirm. You will be asked to enter the name of the delivery service provider and the specific delivery service used (shipping method), along with the tracking number. That means you’ll automatically be guided through these steps any time you process an order. But it’s even easier when you use a tool like Sendcloud. 

The advantage of Sendcloud is that it already collects all the relevant data while the order is being processed. All the necessary shipping information is then instantly transferred to Amazon via the specially designed interface. That means you don’t have to do anything extra, and you’re automatically compliant with the new rules.

How do I select the delivery service provider name and delivery service type?

You’ll enter the name of your delivery service provider and the type of delivery service via Seller Central on the Amazon Marketplace. It’s important that you select the exact delivery service details from the drop-down menu or input them manually. 

Amazon defines the delivery service (or shipping method) as the product or service that you purchase from your delivery service provider. The name of the delivery service you enter must match exactly with the names listed in Amazon’s table of delivery services. The table shows some of the most common delivery service providers, along with the delivery services they offer.

The list of delivery service providers at Amazon Seller Central includes the following Sendcloud shipping partners:

Delivery provider name Delivery type
DHL Parcel
DHL DHL Express
DHL International Mail
Hermes Standard Courier collection
Hermes Standard drop off
Hermes Standard Two Day drop off
Parcelforce International Parcel
Parcelforce UK Parcel
Royal Mail 1st Class & 1st Class Signed For
Royal Mail Royal Mail 2nd Class & 2nd Class Signed For
Royal Mail Royal Mail 48
Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed
Royal Mail Tracked Royal Mail 24 & Tracked Royal Mail 24 (LBT)
Royal Mail Tracked Royal Mail 48 & Tracked Royal Mail 48 (LBT)

If you’re using a mass feed to enter your orders in Amazon Seller Central, you must enter a carrier code and ship method for each item. If you enter ‘other’ under ‘carrier code’, you must fill out the field ‘carrier name’. Be sure that the carrier code you enter matches the list of delivery service providers found in the drop-down menu in Seller Central. 

What tracking information does Amazon require?

To correctly process your data, Amazon requires three important pieces of information:

  • Delivery provider name
  • Delivery service type (shipping method)
  • Tracking number

This information is required so that Amazon Logistics can correctly process your data and automatically update your customers about the status of their shipments. For all merchant-fulfilled shipments, you must remember to enter into the system the name of the delivery service provider, the delivery service type/shipping method and the tracking number. 

If you’re using Sendcloud with its free Amazon integration, this data is always seamlessly and reliably transferred for you as soon as you ship an Amazon order to your customer. You don’t have to do anything else. Just sit back and let Sendcloud do the rest.

What if my delivery service provider is not listed?

If the delivery service provider you want to use is not listed in the Amazon environment, you can enter it manually and then enter their details by hand as well. Amazon has stated that they will strive to continually expand and update their database of delivery service providers. 

For now, you may have to enter some carriers manually, especially if you are shipping internationally.

What do I do if my delivery service provider does not provide an Amazon tracking number? 

If you are fulfilling orders via Amazon, then you are required to offer the best possible customer service. And that includes high-quality shipping options. It’s no longer an option to send orders without the possibility of tracking them. 

If your delivery service provider does not offer tracking, then you will need to switch to a different provider who does. However, this would be extremely rare, as most carriers now provide tracking numbers that you can use when fulfilling your Amazon orders. 

Remember that postage stamps and other shipping methods that are never trackable are exempt from the new Amazon VTR rules. The tracking requirement only applies for the usual shipping methods (parcel shipments) which can virtually always be tracked.

 What does an Amazon tracking number look like?

It may sound complex at first, but it’s actually pretty straightforward. Every delivery service provider offers tracking numbers in different formats. If you want to make sure that your tracking number is in the correct format, check the table below. There you can find the correct format to use when entering your tracking numbers on Amazon. 

This table shows examples of tracking number formats used by Amazon

  • Amazon tracking number for DHL
  • Amazon tracking number for DPD
  • Amazon tracking number for UPS
  • Amazon tracking number for GLS
Delivery service provider Tracking number format
DHL/DHL Global Mail Length: 10 to 20 characters

Parcel deliveries: The tracking number can be a 12-digit numeric code, a 16-character alphanumeric code or a 20-character alphanumeric code.

 

Exceptions for Express shipping:

  • National Express deliveries have a 20-digit shipping number.
  • International Express deliveries have a 10-digit shipping number, also known as an airway bill number.

DHL Global Mail/DHL eCommerce: 20-digit alphanumeric code (example: GM605116511088007023)

UPS Length: 18 characters

Example: 1ZYC677GF8700Y1234

DPD Length: 10 to 18 characters

Example: 59326145491288

GLS Length: 8 to 12 characters

Example: 394635648992

My tracking number is invalid. What should I do?

There are various reasons why your tracking number might be invalid. What’s important is that Amazon has first recorded the number as valid when your shipping partner physically scanned it in. This enables Amazon to verify the shipment and ensures that the shipment is taking place correctly and with a plausible tracking number. 

Exception: Digital deliveries

By their nature, digital products are fulfilled by different means and do not have to be shipped. To prevent this from having an impact on your VTR, there is an option to specify ‘digital delivery’ instead of entering a delivery service provider’s name, and selecting ‘other’ instead of a delivery service/shipping method.

Want to know how you’re performing or get a better understanding of your customer’s needs? Check out our article on e-commerce statistics.

We’ve got the solutions: Simple integration with Sendcloud

As experts in e-commerce shipping, Sendcloud has developed solutions for many of the challenges facing online retailers every day. That includes how to handle your logistics on the Amazon Marketplace. 

Selling through the Marketplace has many advantages, but ultimately you are required to play by the rules that Amazon puts in place. Sometimes that means adding extra steps to your fulfillment process. We’re here to help with that. 

Our job is not only to share important information and keep you up to date. We also want to help optimise your processes and allow seamless integration. It’s everything that a retailer could ever wish for in a single shipping tool.

Our logistics software is designed to help you automate and simplify your fulfillment process. To make this happen, we’ve set up and streamlined many different processes: from generating postage labels to handling returns. 

We’ve got the right solutions for any challenge. And that goes for our Amazon Marketplace integration too, which works seamlessly with our software. Our software covers all the information that Amazon requires, and our shipping partners make sure your orders are optimally fulfilled. 

Amazon isn’t the only thing Sendcloud can do! 

Our e-commerce logistics solutions always keep pace with the latest developments in the market and can do more than just simplify your Amazon shipping. With over 25 plug & play integrations, Sendcloud is compatible with all the leading shop systems and marketplaces. 

Simplify your omni-channel shipping with Sendcloud and automate your entire fulfilment process with our smart shipping rules! Plus, our personalised tracking experience lets you offer a more customer-friendly tracking experience that goes above and beyond the standard Amazon shipping notifications. 

We offer innovative solutions that are ready to scale up on the international level, along with your business. And we’re with you every step of the way, from checkout, to shipping to returns. Want to find out more? Please contact us if you’re interested in a demo or sign up for your free account and give it a try!

Need more information on e-commerce logistics to help you save money, streamline processes and more? Check out these free guides:

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