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Amazon suspends non-essential shipments amid COVID-19 crisis

Updated Mar 17th, 2020 12:00PM EDT
amazon coronavirus
Image: AP Photo/Robert Bumsted

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  • Amazon is suspending inbound shipments of non-essential products from sellers. 
  • High-priority categories like health products and household goods will continue to ship as normal. 
  • Amazon will still fill orders for low-priority products it already has in its warehouses, but new stock will not be added until April 5th at the earliest. 
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

Amazon is taking drastic steps to ensure it can continue to deliver the most important products to its customers in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The company made the announcement today in a message to sellers, saying that it would no longer be accepting inbound shipments of items sold by third parties under the “Fulfilment by Amazon” program unless those products are considered high-priority.

The company notes that it will still be accepting shipments for medical and health products, household staples, and “other high-demand products.” Still, that means that the vast majority of products under Amazon’s umbrella will now be deprioritized, with no new orders being filled by the company until April 5th.

The full memo, via Amazon’s seller portal, reads as follows:

We are closely monitoring the developments of COVID-19 and its impact on our customers, selling partners, and employees.

We are seeing increased online shopping, and as a result some 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.

For products other than these, we have temporarily disabled shipment creation. We are taking a similar approach with retail vendors.

This will be in effect today through April 5, 2020, and we will let you know once we resume regular operations. Shipments created before today will be received at fulfillment centers.

You can learn more about this on this Help page 57. Please note that Selling Partner Support does not have further guidance.

We understand this is a change to your business, and we did not take this decision lightly. We are working around the clock to increase capacity and yesterday announced 12 that we are opening 100,000 new full- and part-time positions in our fulfillment centers across the US.

We appreciate your understanding as we prioritize the above products for our customers.

Thank you for your patience, and for participating in FBA.

Amazon says the following categories of items will be shipped as usual:

  • Baby Products
  • Health & Household
  • Beauty & Personal Care (including personal care appliances)
  • Grocery
  • Industrial & Scientific
  • Pet Supplies

This doesn’t mean that sellers who don’t fall into these categories won’t be able to get their products out to buyers, but it does make that whole process a lot more complicated on their end. Having Amazon fill the orders allows for rapid order distribution and takes some of the weight off of the sellers.

Now, sellers of items deemed non-essential will either be forced to fill the orders themselves, sending them directly to customers, or wait until Amazon resumes normal operation on April 5th at the earliest. Items already in stock in shipping centers will continue to be sent out, but no new stock will be accepted by Amazon at this time.