5 Things Amazon Sellers Need to Know During Coronavirus (COVID-19)

In this Pandemic situation, we are seeing major changes to both supply and demand for products on Amazon, and we are seeing Amazon responds to this situation. These changes are hampering both Customers and sellers in unparalleled ways.

People are self-isolating and working from home, a new economy called “self-quarantine Economy” has burned, and businesses big and small will have to cope in order to survive the upcoming situations.

What do all these changes mean for Amazon sellers and businesses?

In this article, we will discuss the changes Amazon sellers likely to face in the coming months and the major steps they need to take to cope.

Contents

5 Ways how coronavirus is affecting Amazon Business.

1. Amazon is temporarily pausing customer orders for low-priority products

Since the coronavirus or COVID-19 Emerged, the demand for essential goods has become higher, leaving grocery store shelves empty.

Meanwhile, a disruption of the supply chain has led to a shortage of supply. 

Amazon responded to this situation and shifted its gear from “Everything store” to becoming an essential store. 

On March 24, Amazon announced that its pausing Customers orders for low-propriety products as Prime minister Narendra Modi announced a 21- day lockdown across the country.

Amazon released a notification of priority orders in its news portal. It reads as below 

“Thank you for being a valuable selling partner and fulfilling customer needs.We are closely monitoring the developments of COVID-19 and its impact on our customers, selling partners, and employees. As you are already aware, a large number of districts/states are taking precautionary measures with extensive lockdowns and restricted movement of goods and people. At the same time, there is increased demand for priority products and important services. To serve our customers’ most urgent needs while also ensuring safety of our employees, we are temporarily prioritizing our available fulfilment and logistics capacity to serve products that are currently critical for our customers such as Household Staples, Packaged Food, Health Care, Hygiene, Personal safety and other high priority products. This also means that we have to temporarily stop taking orders and disable shipments for other products.

For all pending customer orders, we are reaching out to customers and giving them a choice to cancel their orders for a refund (if prepaid). We understand this is a change for our selling partners who use Fulfilment by Amazon and appreciate their understanding as we temporarily prioritize these products for customers.

These changes are in effect starting today (24th March 2020), and we will let you know when we resume normal operations. Please note that Selling Partner Support does not have further guidance.

We understand this is a difficult change to your business, and we did not take this decision lightly. We appreciate your understanding.”

Here is the list of products that Amazon consider as Essential products 

Food:
1. Staple food like Pulses, Wheat Flour, cereals, Rice, Sugar, Salt, Cooking Oils, etc
2. Tea & Coffee
3. Spices, Masalas,
4. UHT Milk, Baby Food. Baby Formula milk etc
5. Processed and packaged food
6. Farm produce (Fruits and Vegetables)

Non Food items – Cleaning & Hygiene products:
1. Soaps, detergents, oral care
2. Other personal hygiene products, (men and women)
3. Sanitary Pads
4. Diapers
5. Sanitizers, disinfectants, masks, gloves
6. Medicines – a range of OTC and prescription medicines
7. Innerwear
8. Cleaning materials – mops, brooms, pochas, flasks, garbage bags,
9. Essential Kitchen utensils, flasks, hotplates
10. Healthcare products and medical equipment & devices
11. Elderly care products like specs, walkers, toilet seats,
12. Mosquito repellants, air fresheners
13. Aluminum foils cling foils

2. Listing restriction Imposed by Amazon

Amazon has announced that its restricting seller from creating or editing on Low priority listings. Amazon has temporarily restricted the creation of new listings by sellers in low priority product categories.

It has released a list of categories, which are considered a priority for customers during this time. These high-priority products may be listed and sold on Amazon.in at this time.

Amazon Announcement
Announcement of Amazon on Seller performance in coronavirus

3. The supply chain has been disrupted.

Amazon has declared that its pausing pickup and delivery for nonessential goods due to lockdown. It has postponed/canceled all FC inbound appointments scheduled for 24th March. 

4. Spending of consumers is declining

During this Pandemic situation, people are spendings less on Amazon or online e-commerce websites. Nearly 80 million jobs could be lost outings this COVID-19 outbreak, primarily in the travel, tourism, leisure and hospitality sectors.

People are spending more on essential goods, including 

  • Rice
  • Bottled water
  • Face mask
  • Sanitiser
  • Floor Cleaners
  • Dal
  • Oils
  • And other groceries items

Non- essential goods are down, including

  • Office Supplies
  • Party items
  • Furniture
  • Apparels
  • Shoes
  • Electronics items

5. Working from home becomes a new trend 

As India announced lockdown of 21-days , many employees have the option of work from home. The need for an essential item grows drastically and certain work from home keywords becomes a trend on amazon and google.

  • Work From Home- 85%
  • Webcams – 32%
  • Monitors- 15%
  • collaboration Softwares-56%
  • Sanitizers – 89%
  • Gym Equipment- 37%

Other items such as comfortable chairs, gym equipment, home entertainment and learning aid for children have shown an increase in searches on both Amazon and Google.

4 Ways To cope with your Amazon business for this Pandemic situation 

In order to stay safe and cope with this situation, you need to follow some rules. 

In the meantime, to ensure the survival of the business, you need to make some drastic changes.

1. Pause Spending on Advertisement 

Following the FBA freeze, one of customer informed us that Amazon sending them Emails to reduce advertising Spendings on its platforms and prorating not to give any bulk discount as it leads to higher and amazon may not fulfill these orders due to the coronavirus situation. 

If you are selling non-essential goods, we recommend suspending your ads until further notice from amazon.

2. Consider Self Ship or Full-fill by merchant 

If you have inventory available that is not currently in an amazon fulfillment center then you can make use of self shipment.

How self-fulfillment or fulfillment by merchant work 

  1. When someone orders your product, you are notified in seller central.
  2. You have 24 hours of SLA to mark the shipment as ready to dispatch.
  3. Amazon offers shipping carrier services from which you can purchase directly through Amazon and Print.
  4. You will need to pick, pack, and ship the goods and ensure that the product arrives in a timely manner without any damage or issue

There are few more risks involved in FBM 

  1. It may cost you more than FBA.
  2. Shoppers can leave negative seller feedback based on the speed of shipment
  3. You need to handle your own customer services issues

3. Switch to different Business models 

During this pandemic situation, you may have difficulties securing products from china or other overseas providers, business models such as private label, wholesale, and drop-shipping will become difficult during the outbreak. 

However, there are other business models you can introduce to your Amazon business during this situation

  1. Handmade – You can create your own product such as essential seasonal gifts. You can apply for a handmade on the amazon website.
  2. Kindle Direct Publishing- You can publish your own book and content direct on Kindle direct publishing
  3. Manufacture your own products- 3D printers are becoming less and less expensive. You can print, design and sell on amazon.

4. Invest in your Brand 

We all hope and believe business will return to normal eventually. So, while your sales may drop for a few months, this is a good time to focus on your brand and your overall message. 

Take advantage of the free resources and Salesla product trials to increase your sales and brand visibility.

Salesla Listing optimizer

Learn how to optimize your listings and keywords using Salesla. Become an expert in all things Amazon so that you and your products are ready when things return to normal.

Frequently Asked Questions by Amazon Sellers

Many of the questions below are asked by sellers during this coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.

What products are affected by this change ?

All products except Household Staples, Packaged Food, Health Care, Hygiene, Personal safety and other high priority products are considered low-priority. 

Which Channels are impacted by the change ?

This change applies to all fulfillment channels – FBA, Seller Flex, Easy Ship and Self Ship.

FBA: We are prioritizing the above list of products coming into our Fulfillment Centers (FC) so we can more quickly receive, restock and deliver these products to customers. For all other products, FCs will not accept inbounds at the moment. This will be in effect today (24th March 2020) and we will let you know when we resume normal operations.

Easy Ship: You will not receive orders for any low-priority products. If you are selling priority products, you may receive orders for those products and we will do our best to pick them up as per normal operations.

Seller Flex: You will not receive orders for any low-priority products. If you are selling priority products, you may receive orders for those products and we will do our best to pick them up as per normal operations.

Self Ship: Please work with your carriers to manage delivery of orders you receive

What will i do if I already have an shipment on its way ?

Amazon declared that “While we will do our best to receive shipments already on the way, please be aware that we are operating at constrained capacity and may have to unfortunately turn the shipment back. However, we recommend you to recall all shipments not containing priority products.”

What will happen to FBA FC appointments that are scheduled ?

Amazon is cancelling all appointments scheduled for future dates which contain low-priority items. Please check email/seller central for updates. Shipments will be allowed to get created only for priority products from now till operations normalize and we request you to seek fresh appointments for these shipments.

If you have already created shipments for low-priority items, please don’t request appointments as we will not be able to honor them. We will also cancel all such FBA shipments of low-priority items in your account if appointments are requested. Please note that ATS pickups for FBA shipments have also been disabled till operations normalize.

What happened to my inventory which already in FC ?

All products which are already in the FCs but not currently made available for purchase by customers will be exempt from Storage Fee for the impacted period. While you may see the regular storage fee charged, you will receive a reimbursement for the period for these products within the next two billing cycles.

Additionally, these products will not be considered for LTSF aging calculation for the period.

Removal orders have been put on hold till operations normalize. With the limited operations capability, we are catering to customer orders only and will be unable to process removal orders.

What happened to existing orders ?

FBA: Customer orders that have not been shipped out are delayed because of the constraints in our FCs. We have given customers the option to cancel these orders. If they cancel, then these orders will not be shipped. If they choose to not cancel, then these orders will remain in pending and we will try to fulfill these orders when possible.

Seller Flex: We have given customers the option to cancel these orders. If they cancel, then these orders will be removed from your site. If they choose to not cancel, then these orders will remain on your site and we will try to fulfill these orders when possible. Any negative impact on seller performance metrics due to this issue will not be considered while evaluating your Seller Flex performance.

Easy Ship: We have given customers the option to cancel these orders. If they cancel, then these orders will be removed from your pending orders. If they choose to not cancel, then these orders will remain in pending and we will try to fulfill these orders when possible. In addition, you can also choose to cancel any orders that you are unable to fulfill. Please refer to the help page to cancel the orders. Any negative impact on seller performance metrics due to this issue will not be considered while evaluating your seller central account and you will not have to do anything from your end.

Self ship: We have given customers the option to cancel these orders. If they cancel, then these orders will be removed from your pending orders. If they choose to not cancel, then these orders will remain in pending and we will try to fulfill these orders when possible. In addition, you can also choose to cancel any orders that you are unable to fulfill. Any negative impact on seller performance metrics due to this issue will not be considered while evaluating your seller central account and you will not have to do anything from your end

My products listed within prioritised categories but I am not getting any appointments at the FCS . What should I do ?

If the appointment calendar is blacked out completely, please use the ‘Request Appointment’ option on the same page. If you are still having issues in getting appointments confirmed, please speak to your account manager or write to [email protected].

Is this situation impact my Amazon seller performance ?

Any negative impact on seller performance metrics due to this issue will not be considered while evaluating your Seller Central account. You will not have to do anything from your end.

Will I see my cancellation increasing ?

Yes. You are likely to see an increase in order cancellations. The primary reason for this is that we are delayed in meeting our delivery promises to customers due to the prevailing exceptional circumstances. Therefore, we are providing customers the option of cancelling their orders.

This will also ensure that you don’t face challenges with returns and rejects at a later date due to the delayed deliveries. However, please be assured that you will not be charged cancellation fee for these orders and you will not have to do anything at your end.

I have Cash-on-delivery orders. What will happen ?

As Amazon is taking social distancing seriously during this most sensitive period of the COVID-19 crisis to ensure health and safety of our customers, sellers and delivery partners. Hence, as a precautionary measure, (as 27-03-2019). Amazon temporarily suspending Pay-on-Delivery option on Amazon.in, to avoid card/cash exchange at the doorstep during delivery. We are also cancelling all unshipped/in-transit Pay-on-Delivery customer orders as a result.

Will amazon support me if any of these shipments get damaged ?

As mentioned , Amazon is working on modifying reimbursement policies for the COVID contingency period and Pay-on-Delivery cancelled shipments will fall under the ambit of the revised policies. This will cover lost and damages scenarios by channel – FBA, Seller Flex and Easy Ship. We will send a separate communication on the COVID reimbursement policy shortly.

How can I stop future orders without impacting my ASIN Rank ?

The only way to stop orders is to make your account inactive. For Seller Flex sellers, you can temporarily deactivate the site. Please click here to indicate your working status.

I am an existing seller, can I continue to create new listings?

Amazon has temporarily restricted creation of new listings by sellers in low priority product categories. Please refer to the list of categories. which are considered priority for customers during this time. These high-priority products may be listed and sold on Amazon.in at this time.

I am an existing seller, can I continue to edit or make changes to my products if they don’t fall under high priority products?

As of now, you won’t be able to make changes to existing listing of any product. Please check this page regularly for updates.

I am selling low priority products, when will Amazon start showing these products to customers again?

We advise you to routinely check our list of high priority products that we continue to update in accordance with applicable laws and customer requirement. However, we are unable to provide a timeline at this point for lifting of the listing restrictions on the marketplace. We regret the inconvenience.

How to increase sales on Amazon ?

Optimising Amazon Listing can incerase your sale in upcoming future. Amazon SEO plays vital role in increasing sales.

How to optimise my Listings On Amazon ?

Salesla Listing optimiser can help you to optimise your listings for Amazon and get more sale.

What types of products should I sell on Amazon during the crisis?

If you have the ability, sell essentials. Focus, too, on products for people who are self-isolating during the crisis. 

Consider that not only will people have to work from home, but children will have to stay home from school as well.

What Are essential products accepted by Amazon ?

Here Is the List of products Amazon considered as essential products.

Food:
1. Staple food like Pulses, Wheat Flour, cereals, Rice, Sugar, Salt, Cooking Oils, etc
2. Tea & Coffee
3. Spices, Masalas,
4. UHT Milk, Baby Food. Baby Formula milk etc
5. Processed and packaged food
6. Farm produce (Fruits and Vegetables)

Non Food items – Cleaning & Hygiene products:
1. Soaps, detergents, oral care
2. Other personal hygiene products, (men and women)
3. Sanitary Pads
4. Diapers
5. Sanitizers, disinfectants, masks, gloves
6. Medicines – a range of OTC and prescription medicines
7. Innerwear
8. Cleaning materials – mops, brooms, pochas, flasks, garbage bags,
9. Essential Kitchen utensils, flasks, hotplates
10. Healthcare products and medical equipment & devices
11. Elderly care products like specs, walkers, toilet seats,
12. Mosquito repellants, air fresheners
13. Aluminum foils cling foils

*Disclaimer: This article was published based on Amazon’s official notification.

Have other questions? Ask us in the comments section below.

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