One of the great mysteries in shipping is why Amazon, with all of their logistics expertise, often sends small items in big boxes. I wrote a post about this a few years ago. The comments section is particularly enlightening. We have lots of theories, but no answers. This practice is particularly unfair to FBA shippers who have claimed that they end up paying higher rates because Amazon charges them DIM weights on those unnecessarily big boxes.
Yesterday I was listening to This Week in Tech and the topic came up. Leo Laporte, a person I would consider very well connected, had this to say (minute 47 if you’d like to watch/listen to the full conversation):
I’ve been told there’s a reason. It’s for packing the truck. Amazon is so smart in their algorithms that they choose the boxes not merely for the thing that’s in it, but also so how they will all fit into the truck so that they don’t slide around in the truck.
This does make some sense. The very first comment on that last post from Peter suggested as much:
I do think that amazon has that much bargaining power and is either getting full truck rates + some local delivery or they do skip dim overall. I am sure they profit off dims they charge FBA customers.
It does seem quite unfair to be charging FBA customers DIM weights when Amazon is picking that larger box size to pack their truck better. If this is ever proven to be true, I’d imagine FBA sellers will be up in arms (but, even if they are, do they have an alternative? Amazon is scary…)
Then again, all of this goes against what Bruce said in the comments section, and he seemed to have inside knowledge because his “son-in-law oversees facilities maintenance services for Amazon’s fulfillment centers in the southwest”. His theory was that it was simply Amazon being efficient (avoiding repacking, less training, etc).
Someday we’ll know for sure…maybe.