Amazon Temporarily Prioritizing Products for Inbound Shipments to Amazon

On March 17th, Amazon announced to third-party sellers they have temporarily disabled inbound FBA shipment creation for non-essential items to Amazon Fulfillment Centers due to increased online shopping demand from COVID-19 until April 5th, 2020. Vendors received a similar notice stating they will see reduced purchase orders and pausing of purchase orders for products that are not essential items and extended delivery windows for existing purchase orders to give more time for Vendors to fulfill purchase orders with a request to ship products toward the end of that extended window. Amazon is classifying prioritized essential products as household staples, medical supplies and other high demand products. In order to match this increased demand, Amazon is looking to hire 100,000 new full- and part-time positions in fulfillment centers across the US in order to increase capacity of receiving, warehousing, and fulfillment.

Sellers and Vendors should investigate if their products are affected by this new policy and review the different Amazon selling business models and explore seller fulfilled options including merchant fulfilled for sellers and direct fulfillment for vendors in order to keep in stock for products.

Notice for trying to send in non-essential products

Notice for trying to send in non-essential products

Merchant Fulfillment for Brands on Seller Central

Here is the message sent to Amazon Sellers regarding the prioritization of products for inbound shipments to Amazon FBA:

Hello from Fulfillment by Amazon,

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. 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 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.

The Fulfillment by Amazon team

-Email to Amazon Sellers on 3/17/2020

While this may pose an inconvenience to FBA sellers, there is another fulfillment option to remain in stock: Merchant Fulfillment.

For brands that have traditionally sold through Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) where they have outsourced shipping and fulfillment to Amazon, another option to fulfill products is Seller Central merchant Fulfilled. Using this model, sellers create an offer where the seller is responsible for shipping orders as they come in. On a product detail page, the offer states “Shipped from [SELLER NAME] and sold by [SELLER NAME]”. Sellers must keep an accurate update of stock quantities on hand in their Seller Central portal.

Direct Fulfillment for Vendors on Vendor Central

Here is a copy of the notice Vendors received regarding the prioritization for inbound shipments to Amazon:

Hello from Amazon,

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 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.

Beginning today you will see:

Reduced Purchase Orders: We have temporarily paused ordering for products that are not household staples, medical supplies, or other high demand products.

Extended delivery windows for existing purchase orders: We have extended the shipment/delivery windows for some existing purchase orders to give you more time to fulfill the order. Please ship your products toward the end of the extended window.

This will be in effect today through April 5, 2020, and we will let you know once we resume regular operations.

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 on March 16 announced 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,

Amazon

-Email to Amazon Vendors on 3/17/2020

Vendors that sell first party directly to Amazon have the option to list the catalog on Amazon’s Direct Fulfillment platform. Vendor Central Direct Fulfillment is a selling model where Vendors list inventory values from their own warehouses, and when orders come in Amazon has the ability to have the Vendor fulfill the order on their behalf. The order is still from Amazon’s retail arm, but the fulfillment is placed on the Vendor. If the stock at Amazon is depleted, Vendors still have the opportunity to have an offer and fulfill their product through this Direct Fulfillment model.

Confidence in Amazon

We feel that Amazon is taking a great approach to how they are handling this COVID-19 situation by prioritizing household staples and medical supplies. By prioritizing these essentials they are getting the products that customers need into their fulfillment centers quicker, which allows them to fulfill these items to customers quicker. If your products fall into this restriction know that there are fulfillment options that can get your products in the hands of Amazon customers including merchant fulfillment and direct fulfillment. You can learn more about these and other Amazon selling business models in our Strategy White Paper or by reaching out directly to Goat Consulting.

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