COVID-19 AND AMAZON – BUSINESS AS USUAL?

The Coronavirus Pandemic of 2020 is in full force and as the demand for basic staples increases dramatically and much of the world is forced indoors; many consumers are turning to their most trusted eCommerce Resource – Amazon Prime.

As Amazon experts and Professional FBA sellers for the last 15 years, we have seen first hand the dramatic uptick in demand for certain product lines. Brands have seen their forecasted supply for the rest of the year diminish over the course of a week. Brands which have had little market share on the Amazon marketplaces, have suddenly become best sellers – with no paid advertising, no promotional activity, some even without any content on their listings.

We have also read articles and have spoken with many brands and suppliers, who have been incredibly successful prior to this pandemic, who have now had to shut their doors… we hope temporarily.

These are unprecedented times indeed.

With nappies selling for £120, Hand Sanitiser for £50 and many other global brands showing no availability. It’s easy to see why Amazon has now had to take this matter into their own hands.

Due to this sudden and current surge in demand – Amazon is banning sellers from creating shipments for any “non-essential” items to its fulfillment warehouses from March 17th. So for lines outside of Health and Personal Care, Baby Products, Pet Supplies, Grocery and Industrial and Scientific, unless there is already sufficient stock in the fulfillment centres. I dare to say, consumers will need to look elsewhere for those products. Brands who fall outside of these categories will also need to look for other routes to market. However, with many couriers also being under huge strain, as well as the comparable lack in delivery speed and increase in cost – this leaves them with little to no choice.

The announcement made by the eCommerce giant is set to severely disrupt the services of millions of sellers who depend on the platform to run their business. The changes will also decrease more than half of the total sales on their website. This step, as drastic as it may seem, will ensure that the most vulnerable and the most at risk (who rely on Amazon’s services) will have access to the supplies that they need without putting themselves in harm’s way.

It’s not all doom and gloom however, as Amazon’s Senior Vice President, Dave Clark, announced that they will also be hiring 100,000 additional warehouse and delivery workers to handle the surge in orders. Although nothing is entirely clear, we hope that this will lead to the ban in shipments being released in the near future.

Unified Retail is one of the lucky ones – as we are entirely well situated to weather this particular socio-economic storm; historically we’ve put a huge focus on self-sufficiency, on lean overheads and on dynamic working practices and we’ve made insightful decisions surrounding the categories that we have chosen to work within. So for us, its business as usual …albeit remotely.