Amazon updates sellers and vendors on COVID-19 effects

17 March, 2020
3 minute read
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Due to current and rapidly changing COVID-19 developments, Amazon addressed vendors and sellers this week to alert them of possible changes to purchase orders, delivery windows, and operational issues.

Amazon is also keeping an ongoing wrap-up of actions for those impacted by coronavirus issues on their Day One blog. This keeps tabs on more general updates for customers, businesses, and the global community.

Changes for vendors and sellers

The impacts for Amazon’s selling partners are going to differ depending on area and product type. The March 17, 2020, update stated:

We are seeing increased online shopping, and as a result products such as household staples and medical supplies are out of stock. With this in mind, we are temporarily prioritizing household staples, medical supplies, and other high demand products coming into our fulfillment centers so that we can more quickly receive, restock and deliver these products to customers.

Beginning today you will see:

  • Reduced purchase orders: We have temporarily paused ordering for products that are not household staples, medical supplies, or other high demand products.
  • Extended delivery windows for existing purchase orders: We have extended the shipment/delivery windows for some existing purchase orders to give you more time to fulfill the order. Please ship your products toward the end of the extended window.

This will be in effect today through April 5, 2020, and we will let you know once we resume regular operations.

While it is good to see Amazon prioritizing items that are most in-need for communities, it is also an understandably confusing time for businesses that sell on Amazon. This update does not specify what items Amazon sees as “high demand products” and at this point, we can only guess. 

Vendors: For vendors with open Purchase Orders that are higher than normal, Amazon may be ordering in preparation for this freeze or because they believe there will be a higher demand for your products. If your PO quantity is higher than normal, Amazon has extended the shipment/delivery windows for some existing purchase orders to give you more time to fulfill the order. 

Sellers: Amazon has temporarily disabled sellers' ability to raise shipments to prioritize in-demand items. Shipments that were created before March 17, 2020, will be received at fulfillment centers as normally as possible. 

Fair-pricing policy reminder

Amazon has always operated under a fair-pricing policy. Amazon is reminding businesses to comply, especially during this challenging time. Amazon said, “We're also working to ensure that no one artificially raises prices on basic need products during this pandemic and have blocked or removed tens of thousands of items...We actively monitor our store and remove offers that violate our policy.”

Updates for Amazon customers and communities

If you are an Amazon customer, you may have noticed longer delivery times. Even for Prime customers who are used to same-day, one-day, or two-day delivery promises, Amazon and their fulfillment partners are having difficulty coping with the sheer number of deliveries around the world. The surge in demand means there will continue to be delays, though how long depends on the area and item.

On March 16, 2020, Amazon announced they would be hiring 100,000 workers to better meet the current need of rapid delivery from online purchases, particularly those most vulnerable to being out in public.  “We are working around the clock with our selling partners to ensure availability of essential products, and continue to bring on additional capacity to deliver customer orders,” Amazon said.

As a reminder, Prime Now, Amazon Fresh, and Whole Foods Market delivery customers always have the option to select "unattended delivery" during checkout if they prefer not to come into contact with others. Orders not containing alcohol are eligible for unattended delivery, and will be left in a location specified by the customer.

At eCommerce Nurse, we know almost everyone has been affected by the pandemic in some way. We hope you are staying safe, patient, and supporting each another as we continue to deal with these new realities together.

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Katy Luxem

Katy Luxem

Katy Luxem is the senior content manager for eCommerce Nurse and Vendor Society. She has worked for Amazon in both Seattle and London, delivering results for multiple different teams and product lines across the U.S. and Europe. Katy's experience is centered on making sure customers have a best-in-class experience. She enjoys helping businesses and brands succeed and grow with next-level content.

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