During the previous weeks, the Coronavirus prompted Amazon to restrict the types of items sellers could deliver to FBA fulfillment centers. To cope with the changes, Amazon is now advising sellers to review their Seller Central dashboards as it gradually lifts some restrictions on an item-by-item basis. However, it highlighted that it remains selective with what the current situation demands.
It is recalled that since March 17, Amazon prohibited the sellers’ inbound shipments to its fulfillment centers in cooperation with the government’s program to halt the rapid spread of the virus. Products that are a necessity, such as household supplies and medical staples, were exempted. A lot of Amazon sellers, therefore, were affected since many of them rely on Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) for their business.
On March 21, Amazon partially relaxed its restriction policy with the gradually improving condition. It announced, “While we will continue prioritizing the products we can receive beyond April 5, we are now able to broaden the list.”
Amazon also informed sellers that it would continue to implement the social distancing guidelines within its fulfillment centers. That is to protect employees from virus transmission and to ensure that logistics will remain in relatively normal operations. It likewise emphasized the need to prioritize products that customers desperately need. After all, it is also a requirement that the government-mandated businesses should adhere to.
Amazon takes the following factors into consideration to assess which items will be allowed for shipment to its fulfillment centers:
- High-demand products customers need now
- Fulfillment center capacity
- Current inventory levels and inventory transit
- Ability to adhere to the latest health advisories and guidelines
In relation, Amazon recommended sellers who follow the FBA process to continually keep track of the Restock Inventory Page and Restock report in Seller Central. That is because Amazon will be regularly providing updates. For more information and guidance, sellers can browse the FAQs via this help page on Amazon Seller Central.
Although certain restrictions are being lifted, some FBA sellers are shifting to Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM). One seller who lately checked their Restock report shared, however, that FMB was causing more harm than good to their earnings. He said, “An item we would net, say, $40 FBA, we can only net-like $32 FBM.” Other sellers also posted similar reviews, saying that there has to be more aggressive guidelines in place to benefit both sellers and Amazon as the global authorities’ work measures to address the Coronavirus crisis. But this has yet to be realized.
Some sellers expressed doubts about the recent pronouncements by Amazon, particularly, the return-to-normal of operations by April 5.
Still, Amazon has been projecting forward-looking statements to boost the morale of its sellers and customers. In one of its FAQ posts, Amazon said, “Given that the impact of COVID-19 is still developing, we do not have an exact date when operations will be fully restored. Instead, whenever possible, we will allow more products to be received, while still ensuring our fulfillment centers are able to process high-priority products.”
Amazon added, “All of us at Amazon is working hard to restore regular operations, and we appreciate your patience and understanding.”
Meanwhile, a report from the Business Insider Nordic revealed that Amazon has been driving in full steam ahead with 2020’s Prime Day shopping extravaganza, despite being slowed by the Coronavirus crisis.