Amazon blocks ‘non-essential’ items from warehouses

Mar 18, 2020 | E-commerce and E-retailing, Regulation

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Amazon has placed a temporary ban on certain items in its warehouses, to cope with overwhelming demand for household essentials due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The change does not mean Amazon will stop selling non-essential items like phone cases and toys for now, only that products may be more likely to run out of stock in the next few weeks or that sellers have to ship directly to consumers.

The move means means third-party sellers of non-essential items could find it difficult to ship orders to customers.

The block will last until 5 April and cover warehouses in the US and Europe.

Due to demand, some items, including many brands of toilet paper, are currently out of stock on Amazon’s UK website.
The decision to restrict warehouse stocks to household essentials and medical supplies has been met with dismay by some sellers of other products.

This decision from Amazon comes after the online site saw an increase in shopping from people around the world. Items prioritised by shoppers and subsequently going out of stock related to cleaning supplies and other necessary items for Covid-19.

Amazon said products already en route to its warehouses will be accepted and shipped out. But no new products will be accepted for the next three weeks.

Independent merchants still have the option to sell their products through Amazon without using the company’s warehouses. But that would put strain on merchants to find an independent warehouse to ship out their products.

Sellers and vendors will be notified by Amazon once it decides to return to its normal operations.

Amazon is hiring 100,000 new employees in the US in response to the growing demand for its delivery services.

“We are opening 100,000 new full and part-time positions across the US in our fulfilment centres and delivery network to meet the surge in demand from people relying on Amazon’s service during this stressful time, particularly those most vulnerable to being out in public,” the company explained in a post.

The company is also adding a pay raise to its hourly employees through April given their necessary services during the pandemic.

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