In an announcement Tuesday morning, Amazon said they 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 ship these products to customers.” Shipments created before Tuesday will not be affected by this policy.
This comes as Amazon is seeing a surge in online shopping due to the fact that millions of Americans are quarantined at home and millions more aren’t venturing out to shop. Amazon says this fulfillment prioritization will remain in effect through April 5th.
Amazon sellers who depend on Amazon’s FBA program panicked at the announcement and are seeking alternative modes of warehousing and shipping. Many sellers say they will move to fulfill orders themselves or via third party shipment options.
“Third party logistics companies can assist Amazon FBA sellers in either warehousing product until they can be sent to Amazon fulfillment centers,” says David Dembitzer, CEO of MD 3PL, a third party logistics company. “Or,” he adds, “we can actually send individual units directly to the consumer.”
This announcement comes at a volatile time for retail sellers, as businesses are grappling with new and ever-changing realities due to the coronavirus outbreak. On Amazon seller forums, members are discussing the pros and cons of jumping on the stockpiling bandwagon and selling hot items. Some are cautioning that while many retail giants have changed their return policies in anticipation of a massive increase in returns once the crisis passes, Amazon has not. This means sellers who are cashing in now might be hit once the returns start coming in.
This shift in Amazon shipping policies has implications for consumers as well since non-prioritized products might be significantly delayed. Consumers should ensure items they order on Amazon are in stock before they make a purchase.