Earlier this week, Amazon announced that they would hire as many as 100,000 employees to deal with increased demand as a result of isolation measures enacted in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Now they're looking to manage their workloads and prioritize household staples and medical supplies by temporarily suspending vendor shipments for all other products.
In a message on their seller central website, Amazon notes that the measures will be in effect today through April 5th (which appears to be tentative), and will prioritize the following items:
- Baby Products
- Health & Household
- Beauty & Personal Care (including personal care appliances)
- Industrial & Scientific
- Pet Supplies
A message to vendors reads, "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 ship these products to customers."
Amazon states that shipments created before March 17th will be received. So, we might not see stock levels on Amazon go off a cliff right away.
Naturally, this development will have the biggest impact on independent sellers who rely heavily on Amazon and are likely already struggling mightly as people cut back on their spending for non-essentials. Amazon is leaving their merchant-fulfilled channels open for these products, but that means fast and free Prime-style shipping will likely be harder to come by. As for the larger retailers using Amazon to sell their products, customers might have to shop around and / or order directly from the manufacturer until Amazon resumes normal operations.
This story is developing.