Is Amazon Prime No Longer 2-Day Shipping?


I’ve been ordering from Amazon Prime for many years. But lately, I’ve noticed that my orders often take longer than 2 days. So I wondered, is Amazon Prime no longer 2-day shipping?

I checked and found out:

Prime is still technically 2-day shipping. However, in 2020, Amazon started prioritizing essential orders over regular orders. It saw a significant increase in orders placed, which also created delays as they struggled to hire enough employees to keep up with demand.

So it’s just that Amazon was overwhelmed at a point, as you’ll read in a bit.

But it has been taking steps to ensure that it’s able to meet customer expectations. After all, the expedited shipping is one reason many subscribed to Prime in the first place. In fact, Amazon employed a huge number of people in 2020 to address the challenge.

But even more common is the dreaded “On the way, but it’s running late” message, I still got on an order even last week. What does this mean and is Amazon working on it??

In this article, I’ll share some vital info about some realities of Amazon Prime.

Let’s get started…

Why did Amazon get rid of 2-day shipping?

Amazon did not get rid of 2-day shipping. It’s still a part of its offering to Prime subscribers. However, starting in 2020, Amazon prioritized essential orders over other orders causing some Prime orders to be delayed.

This is a fact you can easily confirm on its website. It’s just that the company has been having challenges fulfilling its promise.

These were heightened by the pandemic because, as one would expect, there was a huge spike in demand for products, occasioned by the uncertainty that engulfed us all. Amazon simply wasn’t able to keep up with demand!

 It had to focus on essential orders during the lockdown.

So, to have realistic expectations about when you’re going to have your orders delivered, it’s important to know how Amazon calculates shipping and delivery dates.

The company explained on its website why you might not receive orders within the 2-day window promised.

If the product ordered is out of stock or is not available to be shipped immediately, a customer would naturally not receive the order within that delivery window.

The 2-day window actually starts counting when the product is shipped, not when a customer placed an order.

This is because Amazon has to ascertain if it’s in stock or if it has to be sourced from another seller. As you’d expect, it takes a longer time when products are sourced from other sellers. And, not all products are Prime eligible.

Sadly, this doesn’t work for most Prime subscribers who have come to expect the 2-day shipping as the standard. They paid for it.

Now, orders that used to take 2 days now take 4 days or even six days!

 

Why is Amazon Prime shipping so slow?

As of 2020, Amazon began prioritizing essential orders over regular orders. So household staple items get moved to the front of the delivery line over non-essentials such as clothing, electronics, and home décor items.

The retail giant classified the following as essential orders:

  • Baby products
  • Health and household
  • Beauty and personal care
  • Grocery
  • Industrial and scientific
  • Pet supplies.

And, to make up for the unexpected spike, it’s been hiring thousands of people.

In fact, techhq.com wrote that “no American company has hired so many workers so quickly.” It reportedly hired 427,3000 people in 2020! A considerable chunk of those employed work as software engineers, hardware specialists, warehouse workers, and delivery drivers.

To put this in perspective, it’s important to recall that even before the pandemic, online shopping has been increasing dramatically.

I devoted a recent article of mine to this theme. In it, I showed, amongst other things, that online grocery shopping increased by 137% in 2020. In fact, most grocery retailers saw 8 year’s worth of online shopping orders just during the 12 months of 2020!

Just click the link to read it on my site.

What happens if Amazon doesn’t deliver by a guaranteed date?

Customers are eligible for a refund if Amazon fails to deliver on a guaranteed date, provided that certain requirements are met. However, the order is actually delivered within 24-48 hours of the original delivery day with no refund issued in most cases.

First off, what’s a guaranteed date? Once we get that, we’ll look at the requirements.

As the name implies, it’s a date the company’s assuring you that your orders will be delivered. In other words, on certain products (not all), Amazon offers guaranteed delivery dates (at times, there’s an associated fee). Both are clearly displayed on the checkout page and confirmed in the order email.

As shown on its website, the following conditions must be met:

  • The shipping method selected is the shipping option advertised on a product detail page.
  • Order is shipping to the eligible address.
  • Order is placed before the “order within” countdown listed on the checkout page. The “order within” countdown timer provides the window of time in which you must place your order to receive your delivery by the date shown. That delivery date may become unavailable within that window of time due to inventory or delivery capacity changes before you place your order. “Your confirmed delivery date is included in your order confirmation email. Contact us with any concerns.” 
  • If your order contains items that aren’t eligible for guaranteed delivery, shipping preference “Ship my items as they become available” is selected.
  • Your credit or debit card must be successfully charged before the deadline displayed on the checkout page.
  • The guarantee does not apply if we miss our promised delivery date because of an unforeseen circumstance outside of our control, such as a strike, natural disaster, or severe winter storm. Also, delivery scans might be inaccurate.

How can I speed up Amazon Prime delivery?

Amazon Prime offers expedited delivery. But they do have a fee-based option to speed up shipping even beyond that.

Here’s how to see what the fastest options are for your orders:

  • Go to your orders and locate your order
  • Click change shipping speed
  • Click select another date and time
  • From the drop-down calendar, select a better date that works for you
  • Click confirm

That’s it.

The below table shows (from Amazon) standard shipping and expedited shipping charges.

Addresses in the contiguous US

Shipping speed
Amazon Prime member price
One-Day Shipping Free
Two-Day Shipping Free
Same-Day Delivery
Free on qualifying orders over $35 in certain cities or $2.99 per order. See Order with Prime FREE Same-Day Delivery.
Two-Hour Delivery Free in eligible zip codes through Prime Now.
Saturday Shipping
Price varies by item size and weight, as low as $7.99 per item.
Amazon Day Delivery Free
No-Rush Shipping Free
Standard Shipping (4–5 business days) Free
Release-Date Delivery (on qualifying items) Free

Addresses in Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico

Shipping speed
Amazon Prime member price
Standard Shipping (3–7 business days) Free
Expedited Shipping (2–5 business days)
Price varies by item size and weight, as low as $5.99 per item.
Priority Shipping (1–4 business days)
Price varies by item size and weight, as low as $11.99 per item.
Note: Expedited Shipping isn’t currently available for Puerto Rico.

Eligible items and addresses

Shipping speed Eligible items and addresses
FREE Two-Day Shipping
  • Items sold by Amazon.com and marked on the product page and at checkout as eligible for Prime.
  • Many items fulfilled by Amazon.
  • Items fulfilled by qualified sellers and marked on the product page and at checkout as eligible for Prime.
  • Nearly all addresses in the contiguous US, except US territories, possessions, and protectorates (other than Puerto Rico).
FREE Same-Day Delivery
  • Items sold by Amazon.com and marked on the product page and at checkout.
  • Many items fulfilled by Amazon.
  • Eligible for shipments to specified zip codes in several cities within the contiguous US. You can check your zip code. Commercial addresses aren’t eligible.
Amazon Day Delivery
  • Many items fulfilled by Amazon.
  • Nearly all addresses in the continental US, except US territories, possessions, and protectorates (other than Puerto Rico).
  • Amazon Day isn’t available for shipments that include Hazmat items or items not eligible for one-day or two-day Shipping.
  • Amazon Day isn’t available when shipping to an Amazon Hub Locker, Amazon Hub Counter, or a P.O. Box.
FREE Release-Date Delivery
  • Items sold by Amazon.com marked eligible for pre-order marked on the product page and at checkout.
  • Many items fulfilled by Amazon.
  • Items fulfilled by qualified sellers and marked on the product page and at checkout.
  • Release-Date Delivery isn’t available to Amazon Hub Lockers, Alaska, Hawaii, international destinations, P.O. boxes, or APO/FPO addresses.
FREE Two-Hour Delivery
  • Available in eligible zip codes through Prime Now.
FREE Standard Shipping
  • Items fulfilled by Amazon that are regulated as hazardous materials.
  • Items fulfilled by Amazon with special shipping characteristics, such as large treadmills, basketball hoops, televisions that are 48″ or larger, and heavy furniture.
  • Addresses in Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico (three to seven business days).
  • P.O. boxes in the contiguous US.
  • APO/FPO addresses with US ZIP codes.

Are Amazon’s estimated delivery dates accurate?

Amazon delivery estimates are accurate about 95% of the time. There are times when orders are even delivered before the estimated delivery dates. The least accurate delivery times will be for non-essential items which may have gotten bumped lower in the priority list.

The company has a lot of staff working on its tracking software and logistics, so its estimates are really good. In fact, before the pandemic, it’s rare for packages to be delivered late.

On a lighter note, they are estimates.

Estimates are often affected by factors that may not have been taken into consideration. Because of this reality, estimated delivery dates are not guaranteed.

The estimated delivery date is a tentative date the order is expected to get to the customer. It’s often displayed in your orders and notifications.

Great. But, is it true that Jeff Bezos owns Whole Foods?

Yes. Check out how “America’s Healthiest Grocery Store” became a part of Bezos’ business empire in a recent article of mine. After all, I was part of Whole Foods’ history for decades just before its acquisition, so I know a secret or 2 about the company.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Final Thoughts

In the preceding paragraphs, we looked at the main reason Amazon’s 2-day shipping has left a lot to be desired. 

It’s one of the reasons many opted for Prime.

We looked at what you can do if Amazon fails to deliver by a guaranteed date, how you can speed up your shipping, and the accuracy of its estimated delivery dates.

Jeff Campbell

Hi! I'm Jeff Campbell. I was a leader for Whole Foods Market for over 2 decades. I worked in 9 stores in 4 states, not counting the hundred-plus stores I've assisted in other ways. I was a Global All-Star, a Gold Pen Winner, and won Top-10 Store (company-wide) 3 times in addition to Best New Store (company-wide).

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