Having pushed out delivery dates by over a month at the start of the Coronavirus crisis, Amazon are now starting to catch up and are begging merchants to trust them once again, at least for what they describe as ‘high-priority’ items.
We have noticed that delivery dates on some non-essential items on Amazon are coming down from May delivery dates to around a fortnight’s delivery estimation suggesting that Amazon are getting on top of their unexpected deluge of orders. Now, they are cherry picking merchants and emailing them asking them to send their stock into FBA.
“We are closely monitoring the developments of COVID-19 and it’s impact on out customers, selling partners and employees.
We noticed you are selling some of the high-priority products that customers need, and wanted to remind you that you can add them to Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) to let Amazon store, pick, pack and ship them for you.”
– Amazon email
Amazon went on offer a new page to identify ASINs previously sold that are eligible for inbound shipments into FBA, however merchants we spoke to were less than thrilled to receive the email. Having had inbound shipments for the majority of their products suspended and seen products already in Amazon’s warehouses offered with delivery dates a month into the future thus muting sales, they aren’t that keen to jump back on the Amazon selling machine.
Sellers are already offering their high-priority items on other marketplaces such as eBay and their own websites and don’t see why they should put them into FBA, especially as they’re still able to offer the on Amazon and self fulfil and keep the inventory available on other sites at the same time.
Amazon, as were all companies, undoubtedly caught by surprise at the speed that the Coronavirus pandemic spread in the West but their initial reactions to the crisis all hurt their third party merchants, which over many years they’ve been a pains to emphasise the importance of. Having effectively quarantined merchants stock, cutting off their income, the question now is now we see Amazon FBA begging merchants for stock, will merchants forgive and forget, take a deep breath and jump back in or will they treat Amazon with a new level of scepticism and keep hold of their stock in their own warehouses where they know they can fulfil orders without having to rely on Amazon in the future?