In case you missed the news, Amazon has taken measures in response to the coronavirus outbreak that is spreading quickly across the world. These measures include a recent announcement that they will not be accepting FBA inventory shipments from sellers, with the exception of products deemed essential for health, safety, and household needs. This will stay in effect until April 5, 2020 and is only for the US and EU marketplaces.
Here is what Amazon had to say regarding the changes:
So what does this mean for Amazon Sellers in the US and EU? It means that sellers will not be able to create shipments to send to FBA unless they contain products in the categories being prioritized. It is important to not that not all products in the categories Amazon is still accepting shipments for qualify as essential.
Prioritized Categories by Amazon:
- Health & Household
- Beauty & Personal Care (including personal care appliances)
- Industrial & Scientific
- Pet Supplies
If your items are in these categories but you are still unable to create a shipment during this time, then it means the product is not being prioritized by Amazon.
The only exception Amazon is allowing is for shipments that were created before March 17th. Amazon will still allow these shipments to be received, regardless of what items are included. Essential items will still be prioritized but Amazon will pick, pack, and ship non-essential items as well. Sellers will not be able to start selling these products if they do not already have listings created without Amazon’s approval since the categories have been gated. Amazon has also taken an aggressive stance to combat against price gouging on essential products like face masks. They are removing these listings and have reported that they may be prosecuting sellers who are price gouging.
The only glimmer of hope in this situation is that sellers are still able to do FBM (fulfilled by merchant), which means you ship orders out using your own resources. This includes warehousing, packaging materials, shipping costs and logistics, and customer service. While this option is not something all impacted sellers will be able to do for various reasons, for those that have the resources to fulfill orders on their own will still be able to make sales.
If you are able to do FBM and/or if you still have inventory for FBA, the other good news is that customers can still buy your products! For products being shipping through FBA that are non-essential, there may be a shipping delay since Amazon is prioritizing orders for essential items but Amazon has reported they are going to hire another 100,000 employees to help with the influx of demand. For sellers using FBM, it is up to you to get orders to customers in a timely manner.
This suspension in accepting inventory will likely impact many Amazon Sellers. Luckily, as of this writing, it is only going to last for a few weeks and then sellers will hopefully be able to start sending in their inventory again. Amazon has said it will work to account for these changes in sellers’ Inventory Performance Index (IPI), as well as for storage limits for the next quarter.