On Tuesday, Amazon sent a memo to third-party sellers announcing that they would no longer be allowed to ship "non-essential" products to the company's warehouses. This is the company's latest response to the global coronavirus pandemic, with social distancing causing a spike in online orders. The memo was emailed directly to sellers and posted on Amazon's seller forums.
Amazon is looking to prioritize products that will be essential during the coronavirus pandemic, as many people are avoiding public places, working from home and trying their best to mimic quarantine conditions. On Tuesday, it told its sellers that it will only be accepting certain "high-priority" products from now until April 5. "We are seeing increased online shopping, and as a result some products such as household staples and medical supplies are out of stock," the company explained. "With this in mind, we are temporarily prioritizing household staples, medical supplies, and other high-demand products coming into our fulfillment centers so that we can more quickly receive, restock, and deliver these products to customers."
"For products other than these, we have temporarily disabled shipment creation," it went on. "We are taking a similar approach with retail vendors."
This means that vendors cannot create new shipments of non-essential products to an Amazon warehouse. However, customers can still order anything that Amazon has in stock. As long as it does not run out before shipments return to normal, users may not notice a difference at all.
Amazon said that the new policy would be in effect starting immediately, and run through April 5. However, it added: "we will let you know once we resume regular operations. Shipments created before today will be received at fulfillment centers."
Amazon directed vendors to its help page and support staff for more information on the new policy. It also pointed out Mondays announcement that the company is hiring 100,000 new employees in fulfillment centers across the U.S., perhaps hoping to imply hope that these restrictions would not last forever.
"We understand this is a change to your business, and we did not take this decision lightly," the memo said. "We appreciate your understanding as we prioritize the above products for our customers. Thank you for your patience, and for participating in FBA."
According to a report by Business Insider, the products that Amazon will continue to accept are broken down into six categories: baby products, health and household products, beauty and personal care products, groceries, industrial and scientific products and pet supplies.
For the latest information on COVID-19 and best practices for minimizing its spread, consult the CDC's website.