After Amazon severely restricted the types of items sellers could send to FBA fulfillment centers due to the coronavirus pandemic, Amazon is now advising sellers to check their Seller Central dashboard as it lifts some restrictions on an item-by-item basis.
On March 17, Amazon stopped accepting sellers’ inbound shipments to its fulfillment centers for products other than high-demand goods such as household staples and medical supplies. Many sellers rely on Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) for their livelihood.
Today, March 27, Amazon announced, “While we will continue prioritizing the products we can receive beyond April 5, we are now able to broaden the list.”
The company also told sellers it is adhering to social distancing guidance within its fulfillment centers to keep employees safe and healthy as it continues to focus on “available capacity on the highest priority products that customers need at this time,” a reference to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Amazon is using a number of criteria to determine which items will become eligible for shipment to its warehouses, including the following:
- high-demand products customers need now;
- current inventory levels and inventory in transit;
- fulfillment center capacity;
- its ability to adhere to the latest health guidelines.
Sellers who participate in FBA can check on the Restock Inventory page and Restock report in Seller Central, which it will regularly update as capacity allows. Sellers can find FAQs on this help page on Amazon Seller Central.
Some FBA sellers who are unable to send product to Amazon are turning to FBM (Fulfilled by Merchant). A seller who checked their Restock report after today’s announcement to find zero eligible items said doing FBM was destroying their margins – “An item we would net, say, $40 FBA, we can only net like $32 FBM.”
Some anxious sellers questioned whether the announcement meant things would return to normal on April 5. In its FAQ, Amazon wrote, “Given that the impact of COVID-19 is still developing, we do not have an exact date when operations will be fully restored. Instead, whenever possible we will allow more products to be received, while still ensuring our fulfillment centers are able to process high-priority products.”
Amazon ended its post with the following: “All of us at Amazon are working hard to restore regular operations, and we appreciate your patience and understanding.”
On a related note, Business Insider Nordic reports, “Leaked emails show Amazon is moving full steam ahead with this year’s Prime Day shopping extravaganza, even as it grapples with the coronavirus pandemic.”