Amazon has a reputation for being able to deliver fast.
If you’re an Amazon Prime member, then you can even get access to one-day and two-day shipping.
However, there are times that, even as a Prime member, your shipping may be slower than you expected.
Here are 10 possible reasons why Amazon’s shipping can be slow.
Why Is Amazon Shipping So Slow? (10 Possible Reasons)
1. A Slow Seller
One reason why Amazon shipping is slow is that you could be buying from a slow seller.
While Amazon has its own products that it sells, it relies heavily on third-party sellers to make up the bulk of its business.
These sellers operate separate businesses from Amazon.
They just take advantage of Amazon’s superior warehousing and logistics solutions.
It’s often a great way for smaller sellers to get started or to scale their business without a large upfront investment.
However, because these businesses can sometimes be quite small, they’re not always the fastest or most efficient.
For example, there’s a chance that you’re buying from a one-person business.
They handle everything from receiving orders to getting them shipped out.
If they suddenly find themselves swamped with orders, then it may take them a bit of time to get your order shipped.
Amazon doesn’t handle the processing part unless it’s specifically an Amazon product.
They only take charge of the order once the order has arrived at one of their facilities for shipping.
At that point, they’re able to get it on a truck or plane and start the process of getting the package to your door.
You’re completely reliant on how fast the seller is able to process your order.
If the seller has a full-time job and selling on Amazon is their part-time or side job, then they may not give it their full attention.
As such, your order may not process until the next day or even a few days after you submit it.
Since Amazon can’t do anything in the meantime, it can seem like it’s Amazon’s fault.
Your shipping may be slow if you bought a product from a seller who’s slow to process orders.
2. Handmade Items
Another reason your shipping from Amazon may be slow is that you’ve chosen a handmade product.
Amazon doesn’t sell a lot of handmade products.
That’s more of Etsy’s forte.
However, there are a few sellers who use Amazon to sell their handmade crafts.
When you order something handmade, you sometimes have to wait for the seller to make the product before sending it out.
Usually, you’ll see some sort of warning or information about how long it might take on the product page.
However, it’s easy to miss that information which means you may be waiting around and wondering what’s taking so long.
Some sellers will try to keep some of their handcrafted items in stock.
This helps speed up the process since they can immediately send the item out to the buyer.
Others are unable to do that if the item requires custom measurements.
For example, if you’re buying a handmade decorative sign, then the artist can’t get started until they know what you specifically want on the sign.
It may be a slogan, a logo, or even just your family’s name.
Once they get that information from you, then they can get started working.
Handcrafted items take a long time to ship because it can take the seller some time to finish the item.
Depending on how big it is or how detailed it is, you could be waiting for a few days, if not a few weeks.
This can make it seem as though the shipping is slow when really it’s because the order isn’t ready for shipping.
Amazon shipping is slow when you buy a handcrafted item because the seller usually has to make it first.
3. Custom Items
Custom items are a little different than handmade items.
They’re also a reason why your Amazon shipping can be slow.
Custom items aren’t always handcrafted items.
It could be a shirt that you get customized by adding your name to it.
You might order a wooden picture frame that has a specific quote burned into it.
Whatever it is, custom items take a little bit longer for the seller to get out to Amazon.
That’s because the seller has to make the item first.
If the seller has a lot of orders to make and process, then it may take some time before they get to your order.
Amazon won’t be able to ship the product until the seller has finished working on the item and has processed it for shipping.
The more customizations something requires, the longer it’s going to take to make.
Amazon shipping might be slow if you’re ordering a custom item.
4. Low Supply
Another reason your Amazon shipping may be slow is that the item you bought is in low supply.
Amazon will usually warn you if an item is low in stock.
They will also tell you if it’s temporarily unavailable.
If you see either of these warnings, then you may face a slight delay in your shipping.
That’s because there’s a chance that the seller may run out of stock before you submit your order.
If the item is in high demand, for example, and everyone is buying it at once, then there’s a chance that someone could get the last item before you.
When this happens, you have to wait for the seller to get a new supply of the item.
In most cases, you’ll get a notification about the delay.
However, there’s always a chance that you’ll fall through the cracks and the seller will forget to notify you.
Then you’ll wait around and wonder where your item is.
Until the seller gets a new supply of the item, they’re unable to process your order and get it out for shipping.
You’re stuck until new stock arrives.
Depending on what the item is, it may take the seller only a day or so to get a new supply.
It may also take them a few weeks.
Meanwhile, you’re waiting for your shipping to progress and wondering why it’s taking so long.
If you buy something that’s low in supply and ultimately runs out, then it can make your shipping seem slow.
5. Large Orders
Sometimes your Amazon shipping is slow because the item you ordered is especially large.
A piece of furniture, for example, is usually quite large.
Since it takes up a lot of space and is quite heavy, there’s usually a bit more work involved in shipping it.
That’s because logistics operate on size and weight.
The heavier or bigger something is, the more expensive it is to ship.
This is because each truck, and even each airplane, has strict weight regulations that it needs to follow.
For airplanes, the regulations ensure that they can take off and land safely.
For trucks, they ensure that they don’t cause too much damage to the road or to themselves.
It also means that an airplane or truck is unable to carry much else when it has a particularly heavy or large item onboard.
That detracts from how much they can fit on the delivery vehicle.
Since it requires logistic teams to put a bit more thought into how to transport a large item, this can add a bit of time to the overall shipping estimate.
That’s because the large item may not fit on the truck that can get to your location the fastest.
It may have to wait for the next truck that isn’t full.
The same goes for air travel.
If the plane is already loaded with items, then your item may be too heavy for that particular journey.
As a result, it has to wait until the next plane arrives that’s going to that destination.
Large items make the shipping process more complex.
It may take your Amazon order a bit longer to ship and arrive because of its complexity.
6. Labor Shortages
Another big problem that may be causing shipping delays is a labor shortage in some of Amazon’s distribution centers.
In some key areas, Amazon is in danger of using up the available workforce.
This means that it won’t have anyone new to hire.
Since Amazon also has a high turnover rate in its facilities, this creates a serious problem.
With no one left to work, there’s also no one to sort and process the orders.
Even if there are a few workers available, they’re sorting and processing orders on a far smaller scale than they were before.
Since there are still many orders to be shipped from these facilities regardless of their workforce problems, it creates a huge delay in shipping.
Labor shortages are already a problem at Amazon.
Many chose to leave following the pandemic due to low wages.
The smaller number of people working at the facilities are only able to process a certain number of orders each day.
If your order ends up going through one of the distribution centers having problems with its labor force, then it may take a while before it passes through the center.
It only begins its journey to you once it finally gets on a truck.
If it has to go through a few other facilities, then you can expect the delay to get even worse if those facilities are also facing problems with labor shortages.
Amazon shipping is slow because of the labor shortages it’s experiencing in its distribution centers.
7. Truck Driver Shortages
While labor shortages in the warehouse can impact the speed of your delivery, this isn’t the only labor shortage causing slow deliveries.
There’s a truck driver shortage occurring which is stalling the supply chain.
Amazon isn’t the only company facing problems with truck driver shortages.
Almost every trucking company is feeling the heat due to a lack of drivers.
Many drivers chose to leave the profession because of low wages and a lack of benefits.
The government has also made it a bit more difficult to become a driver which tends to curb interest.
This impacts the speed of your shipping because it means there are fewer drivers to drive Amazon’s trucks.
Amazon relies on big-rig drivers and independent contractors to handle shipping.
The big-rig drivers move large numbers of packages to facilities around the country.
Independent contractors then handle specific routes and deliver packages to people’s homes.
Amazon is experiencing problems on both ends.
Without big-rig drivers, they don’t have a way to get packages to certain regions.
Instead, they have to wait for the drivers they do have to move those items.
Because they have to wait, that means you have to wait.
If there’s a lack of independent contractors willing to work, then it means Amazon has fewer people to make deliveries to people’s homes.
Instead, those drivers they do still have end up taking care of the excess work.
Since they can only fit so many packages into their delivery trucks at a time, it creates a bottleneck.
Your Amazon shipping is slow because there are fewer drivers available to get the item to your address.
8. Ground Travel Vs. Air Travel
One factor that can determine the speed of your shipping is whether it’s traveling on the ground or in the air.
While all packages will eventually end up traveling on the ground, the speed of the shipping depends on if it’s only traveling on the ground or if it’s also traveling in the air.
Ground travel is slower than air travel.
That’s because truck drivers can only drive so fast and for so many hours.
Since they’re not able to travel as fast as a plane, it takes them longer to get to their destinations.
They’re also only able to legally drive for a certain number of hours.
When they reach that point, they then need to rest for at least eight-ten hours.
During that time, your order isn’t making any progress.
Air travel, on the other hand, is a lot faster.
Airplanes move faster than trucks.
Since they move faster, they can usually get to their destinations in a matter of hours.
That gives planes a huge leg up over a truck on the ground.
Since planes essentially leapfrog over many of the miles that a truck must drive at a set speed limit, packages on airplanes can get to their destinations faster.
If you see that your Amazon order is moving slowly, then it’s probably because it’s traveling by ground.
9. Traffic Problems
One of the reasons ground travel can be a lot slower than air travel is that there are several problems that can delay a truck driver.
One of the most common is problems with traffic.
A truck driver’s main route is on the highway.
Highways in certain areas can become very congested.
Rush hour, for example, is a prime time when there are several cars on the road either leaving work or going to work.
If an Amazon driver gets caught up in it, then it can easily add an hour or even more to their delivery time.
Along with traffic problems, truck drivers also must contend with traffic accidents.
When congestion becomes a problem, accidents often aren’t too far behind.
Even if the Amazon truck driver isn’t part of the accident, they can get stuck waiting.
Whenever an accident occurs, in some cases, the highway temporarily shuts down.
The police arrive, ambulances rush in, and then they clear the road.
Depending on how far the accident is from the police station and hospital, it can take time for emergency personnel to arrive.
Meanwhile, everyone has to wait until the road gets cleared.
Accidents also cause traffic jams which can take a bit to clear.
The truck driver may be unable to progress at their typical speed until the jam starts to clear.
Traffic jams and accidents can cause serious delays which can make your Amazon shipping slower.
10. Extreme Weather
A final reason why your Amazon order may be slow to ship is because of extreme weather.
Even if skies are sunny where you are, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s sunny along the route that the delivery driver is taking or where your seller lives.
Extreme weather can affect the supply chain at any point.
For example, the seller may find themselves in a tornado.
They may be unable to process your order because the tornado has damaged their warehouse or workshop.
Until they’re able to piece everything together, you may not get your order.
The same goes for an Amazon facility.
If a tornado or hurricane or another type of extreme weather occurs, then there’s a good chance that the facility’s operations might be impacted.
They may not be able to work until the weather clears.
If there’s any damage to the facility, then they may not be able to process and ship out orders until it’s safe to do so.
Finally, extreme weather can affect truck drivers and pilots.
Truck drivers may have to find alternate routes if they encounter flooded streets or streets clogged with debris.
If they’re directly impacted by the extreme weather, then they’ll need to take shelter somewhere.
Depending on how long the weather lasts, it could add a significant delay to your item’s shipping time.
Pilots also need ideal conditions to fly safely.
If there’s extreme weather, then they’re not able to take off or land.
They may even have to go to a different airport to land.
This adds a delay to shipping because it means they’re unable to make any progress until the weather clears.
If there’s extreme weather either in your area or en route to your area, then it can delay your shipping and make it proceed slowly.
Amazon invests a lot of money into its logistics to ensure it’s able to deliver orders quickly.
However, there are circumstances like weather and traffic that Amazon can’t control.
Your order may ship slowly for any of the above reasons.