Amazon Quietly Expands Prime, Allows Direct-From-Merchant Shipping

Amazon, Amazon.com, Amazon Prime, FedEx, FedEx Ground, USPS, U.S. Postal ServiceLooking to expand the massive rolls of Amazon Prime even further, the ecommerce giant has quietly begun expanding its estimated 20 million Prime eligible listings by adding items that ship directly from merchants, according to the Wall Street Journal. Normally, merchants have to ship product to an Amazon warehouse to warrant Prime eligibility and its vaunted two-day shipping promise. And there’s the rub: Keeping that commitment is key to Prime’s continued growth, so Amazon needs to ensure that merchants hew to that line. Nevertheless, merchants who participate in the program will saving by shipping directly, and it may signal a change in the requirement that they use Fulfillment By Amazon in order to qualify for Prime eligibility. … FedEx has agreed to pay $227 million to 2,000+ past and present California workers who said the company misclassified them as independent contractors and underpaid on wages and benefits between 2000 and 2007, according to SF Gate. The settlement must still be approved by the Ninth U.S. Circuit of Appeals, which ruled in August that the workers were in fact employees. … In something of a victory for catalog mailers and direct marketers, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the U.S. Postal Service’s 3 cent emergency first-class mail rate hike – enacted in 2014 to counter effects of the recession – should not become permanent, according to the Washington Post. The Postal Regulatory Commission approved the increase to make up for an estimated $2.8 billion in lost revenue, a figure that should be reached this August, although the USPS estimate and how it was tallied remains in dispute. … Jobs growth is healthy in logistics-related businesses, as retailers are encouraged by growing consumer confidence, according to the Wall Street Journal. The transportation and warehousing sector added 13,000 jobs in May, led by nearly 9,000 new jobs in trucking. This is up significantly from March, when just 1,900 sector jobs were added.

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