Amazon Webinar Transcript on COVID-19 measures

On 03.04.2020, the Amazon Seller Service organised a webinar that focused on the measures around Corona / COVID-19. In addition to already known information about the restrictions of product deliveries to a few categories, further tips and hints were given on how Amazon is reacting to this global crisis and what sellers and vendors should be aware of.

Since the webinar was in German, we decided to provide a transcritp in english. If you want to listen to the original audio please click on this link:

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Summary of the Amazon COVID-19 Webinar

Common COVID 19 issues with Amazon resellers

Based on the feedback from many sellers, there are currently problems due to Corona / COVID-19, which negatively affect the performance of the seller account. Amazon names the following reasons:

  • The employees are sick.
  • The goods are not available (not in stock).
  • The transport service provider has problems with the delivery of orders.

Amazon COVID-19 measures to help online retailers

Amazon is fully aware of the situation around the limitations of COVID-19. Many merchants currently have problems selling their products, having them delivered, or meeting the strict account policies. To help all sellers a little bit, Amazon has taken the following measures:

  1. The storage fees in the USA and Europe are temporarily waived.
  2. The seller’s performance (e.g. rate of delayed deliveries, cancellation rate before fulfillment) is not evaluated as strictly as usual.
  3. The sales service can and should be contacted if there is a lack of performance by dealers. Amazon will then take this into account manually.

Why is delivery to Amazon logistics centers restricted?

Many merchants currently have the problem of not being able to replenish their stocks in Amazon warehouses. The reason: Amazon has limited the consignment to very few categories and only products in high demand.

Notes from Amazon about the FBA limits

  • Shipping through Amazon is also severely restricted because stricter hygiene measures are currently taken in the logistics centers; this results in slower processing of orders.
  • The categories for storage are currently successively expanded again. Especially products with high demand and the overall capacity in the logistics centers play a significant role.
  • The delivery restrictions apply equally to sellers and
  • Sellers should under no circumstances change the classification of their products in the wrong categories so that they can be delivered. This can lead to the account being blocked.
  • If products are sorted into a deliverable category but still cannot be delivered for FBA, the reason is that there is less demand for the product and it is not a priority in the current situation.

Amazon webinar tips on customization options for self-sending

An important tip from the Amazon webinar was the recommendation to temporarily ship the products yourself, to bridge the FBA limitations and to offer the products for sale on Amazon generally. The following tips were mentioned in the webinar:

  • It is essential to provide a correct and current shipping tracking number so that Amazon customers can view delivery as usual after placing an order.
  • The delivery times should be checked and adjusted by the sellers if necessary.
  • Sellers should also check the default setting for returning goods.
  • It is also vital to comply with drop-shipping guidelines (e.g. packing slips, invoices, and external packaging).
  • Sellers should use the holiday function if the COVID-19 situation prevents or delays the processing of orders.
  • If orders cannot be served at all, then the sellers should cancel them properly and inform the customers.

Amazon´s webinar tips for Prime by Merchant

If sellers participate in the “Prime by Merchant” program, Amazon recommends the following:

  • Sellers should regularly and continuously speak with their shipping service provider to determine whether delivery times may be delayed.
  • Prime should be deactivated if necessary if the fulfillment is not possible as usual.
  • Limits for prime orders should be redefined according to the situation and checked continuously.
  • In case of restrictions, sellers should adapt or remove the prime shipping template for certain ASINs.

COVID-19 tips from the DIHK for online retailers

A member of staff from the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) joined the Amazon webinar and gave some general tips for entrepreneurs who are economically affected by Corona / COVID-19. The IHK is currently noticing a strong decline in liquidity in many small and medium-sized companies and referred to the “Corona shield” or the economic stability fund as a rescue. However, the KfW program is still challenging to implement at present because many commercial banks are refusing to increase loans, in some cases, severely. According to the DIHK, savings banks are currently much more flexible than other banks.

Economic COVID-19 measures for entrepreneurs

  • Tax relief measures such as the suspension of advance tax payments or a deferral of tax payments can currently be used.
  • EUR 50 billion in emergency aid is available for the self-employed, freelancers and small businesses to be paid out quickly.
  • Between EUR 9,000 and EUR 15,000 in subsidies for operating costs can be paid out depending on the number of employees (full-time equivalents).
  • To receive emergency aid, a reasonable liquidity calculation is needed. Later, random checks are made to see whether there was a liquidity bottleneck.
  • Another possibility is the short time working allowance, which can be claimed retroactively from 01.03.2020.
  • The IHK hotlines are also available on weekends to assist companies.

Answers to questions about COVID-19 measures from Amazon

At the end of the webinar, the Amazon Seller Service answered some questions that concerned Marketplace dealers before. Here is a small excerpt of the questions asked about COVID-19:

What products can I send to an Amazon logistics center?

The list of deliverable product categories will be regularly expanded again via Seller Central and should be checked there by every seller daily. The most important factors are the demand for the article and the capacities of the Amazon warehouses.

Is there a restriction on products weighing more than 15 kg?

Ja, da für solch schweren Produkte mehr als 2 Personen für das Handling in den Logistikzentren notwendig sind. Dies gilt aktuell für die USA und Europa.

Ist ein EU-weiter Versand (PAN-EU) trotz Corona / COVID-19 derzeit noch möglich?

Yes, because such heavy products require more than two people for handling in the logistics centers. This currently applies to the USA and Europe.

Is EU-wide shipping (PAN-EU) still possible despite Corona / COVID-19?

Yes, a Europe-wide dispatch still takes place in principle.

Is now a good time to register for FBA as a seller?

In principle, you can still register for FBA. However, traders should note the categories that can be submitted.

What happens to products that have been delivered to an Amazon warehouse but are not among the preferred categories?

If products were sent to a logistics center before the Corona crisis, they could be resold typically as long as there is still stock on hand; this is possible regardless of the currently applicable FBA restrictions.

What happens with return orders and long-term storage fees?

Return orders can currently be processed without restrictions. Storage fees are currently suspended for all products in all categories.

What happens if my vendor performance is worse because of COVID-19?

For this purpose, sellers should always contact support directly and explain the situation. Amazon evaluates each case individually and then, if necessary, relaxes Seller performance guidelines concerning the rate of order quantities and late deliveries.

Is an EU export of medical protective equipment prohibited?

Yes, retailers currently need explicit permission to sell products such as respirators.

Why can no deals be stopped at the moment?

Until 05.04. no deals are possible, because it is not guaranteed that these deals are realizable because of COVID-19.

Conclusion on the Amazon webinar and the COVID 19 measures

Even though no ground-breaking news was announced in the webinar, the tips and hints have been very well prepared. Every seller and vendor should take about 60 minutes of your time to watch or listen to the Amazon webinar.