After weeks of stocking up on essential items only, Amazon has opened up its warehouse back up to non-essential items as businesses slowly start opening again amid the coronavirus pandemic. Fast shipping is back, as well. In mid-March, the online retail company started focusing on only selling items like hand sanitizer, toilet paper, cleaning items, baby, pet and beauty products due to such high demand as families across the nation were starting to quarantine.
"We typically want to sell as much as we can," an Amazon employee stated, according to Marketplace Pulse. "But our entire network is so full right now with just hand sanitizers and toilet paper that we don't have the capacity to serve other demand." After taking down their "Today's Deals" and "Product Recommendations" from its website, they have now started accepting new ones, along with reintroducing the deals and coupons menu items to both its app and website.
Along with lifting their ban on non-essentials, they've also removed the quantity limitations. Throughout the end of March and all of April, Amazon tagged certain items with "Limited Restock," meaning they had a quantity limit based on their prior sales and current inventory levels. However, now those tags have been removed. Something else they're getting back to is one and two-day shipping methods. Fast shipping, at one point, was only limited to essential items, with everything else having the possibility of arriving a week or two after their purchase. Some users reported their packages taking almost four weeks to receive. It looks like that will no longer be the case as things start to lift.
On March 17, the company announced they would be prioritizing medical supplies, household staples and other high-demand products until April 5. They reportedly blocked sellers from shipping products deemed non-essential to its warehouse for several weeks to make room for what they needed most. "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," an email read that the company pushed out to its vendors.
To meet their new demands, the company opened up more than 100,000 new positions for both full-time and part-time roles. "We are seeing a significant increase in demand, which means our labor needs are unprecedented for this time of year," the company stated after announcing how many new employees they were looking to hire. On top of the company hiring so many new people, they also offered a $2 per hour increase for their warehouse employees throughout April.