Amazon has announced that it’s prioritizing stocking high-demand products like medical supplies and “household staples” in its fulfillment centers due to increased demand from customers, per a report from The Wall Street Journal. Demand for these essential products has gone up as people are staying home and avoiding physical retail locations as they self-quarantine to prevent spreading the novel coronavirus.
“We are temporarily prioritizing household staples, medical supplies and other high-demand products coming into our fulfillment centers so we can more quickly receive, restock, and ship these products to customers,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement.
As a consequence of that decision, though, Amazon will be limiting both vendors (direct Amazon suppliers) and independent sellers from sending any products that don’t match those categories to Amazon warehouses until April 5th. Sellers will be able to continue relying on Amazon to sell and ship any inventory that’s currently at fulfillment centers. But once that runs out, they won’t be able to rely on Amazon to store their goods, restock inventory, or fulfill orders.
Sellers will still have the option to sell goods on Amazon without using the fulfillment centers, provided that they handle the storage of their products and shipping without using Amazon’s services, but many small businesses likely lack the physical space or logistics chain to actually manage that on their own.
Any items currently en route to Amazon’s fulfillment centers will still be accepted, and the existing stocks already at the warehouses mean that shortages might not be apparent immediately. But the policy means that non-essential items won’t be able to be restocked for weeks, which means that it’ll only be a matter of time before supply starts to run out.
Correction: Amazon will be limiting shipments to its fulfillment center for both vendors (direct Amazon suppliers) as well as independent sellers, not just independent sellers (as this article originally stated.)