Coronavirus chaos: Amazon stops sellers shipping ‘non-essential’ items
However Jeff Bezos’ company has guaranteed that it will still deliver orders already in the warehouse for non-essential items, but the outlets that wish to sell non-essentials on Amazon will have to organise delivery themselves. Amazon has been forced to stop stocking and shipping all non-medical and non-essential items as the e-commerce giant has become snowed under with orders from panic-buyers that are overwhelming their thirteen UK warehouses. Orders of toilet rolls, wipes, tinned food and other vital goods have been demanded by panic buyers across the
UK, and Amazon are hoping to deal with the panic by only selling essentials.
Early Tuesday morning, Amazon said it would be “temporarily prioritizing household staples, medical supplies, and other high-demand products coming into our fulfillment centres so that we can more quickly receive, restock and deliver these products to customers.”
By “prioritizing,” Amazon means it will no longer accept new shipments to its warehouses for discretionary items through April 5.
During that time, Amazon will continue to sell all types of products on its websites, but sellers listing discretionary items will have to store and ship them on their own if they aren’t already in, or on their way to, an Amazon warehouse as of Tuesday.
The company said most of the products it was still accepting from third-party sellers and wholesale vendors fall into one of six categories: baby products, health and household, beauty and personal care, grocery, industrial and scientific, and pet supplies.
The messages were sent to third-party sellers who store goods in Amazon warehouses through the Fulfillment by Amazon program, as well as wholesale vendors who sell goods directly to Amazon, which then resells those goods to customers.
An Amazon spokesperson said in a statement: “We are seeing increased online shopping, and as a result, some products, such as household staples and medical supplies, are out of stock.
“We understand this is a change for our selling partners and appreciate their understanding as we temporarily prioritize these products for customers.”
With governments across the globe recommending and even mandating that people stay inside during the pandemic, more shoppers are turning to Amazon to stock up rather than visiting brick-and-mortar stores.
But the rush of shopping in select categories has meant frequent out-of-stock messages for items ranging from hand sanitizer and hand soap to face masks, as well as sellers taking advantage of low supply by attempting to price-gouge customers.
This move, coupled with Amazon’s announcement on Monday that it was hiring 100,000 warehouse workers to keep up with surging demand, highlights the level at which consumers are relying on online shopping during the pandemic.
At the same time, it’s also a realization that even the endless digital aisles of Amazon’s Everything Store, and Amazon’s logistics prowess, were not built to fully sustain the change in consumer behaviour that the pandemic has forced essentially overnight.
On Amazon’s message board for third-party sellers, the news was greeted with panic early Tuesday morning.
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One seller wrote: “Amazon just put tons of businesses out of business.”
Another said: “Destroyed thousands of jobs amidst a crisis.
“Expect major lawsuits coming from sellers who now will go bankrupt.”
Another user wrote: “Most of us do not have the infrastructure in place.
“We do not have the boxes or packing material to do this.”
In the notice to sellers, the company said, “We understand this is a change to your business, and we did not take this decision lightly.”
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