Recently Amazon announced that the supply of new products (or replenishment of stocks) to the warehouses was going to be limited and only possible for specific categories. The reason behind this was that many retailers due to Corona (COVID-19) have become “recursive hamster buyers”, who use or wanted to use the logistics and fulfilment service FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon). Fearing an “out-of-stock” situation, many sellers wanted to quickly “push” their products into the warehouses and thus stock up recursively, as we currently see it happening in the supermarkets. To limit this rush to the warehouses, Amazon quickly restricted the supply of new products. Only a few categories could be supplied by selected retailers and brands so that in the current crisis, there was and is constant availability of certain essential products. Currently, only these categories can be supplied on Amazon:
- Baby products
- Drugstore & household
- Drugstore & personal care (including electronic devices for personal care)
- Industry & Science
- Pet supplies
Longer delivery times due to Corona (COVID-19) on Amazon
As a result, some categories currently have significantly longer delivery times, even if the products come with “Prime Priority”, which under normal circumstances means delivery within 1-2 working days and sometimes even the same day (same-day delivery). In specific categories, the corona (COVID-19) situation took such a strong effect that some products are currently entirely out of stock. Therefore, they can’t either be ordered or can only be delivered with a long delay. The delivery times vary greatly: from 1-2 weeks up to over six weeks.
Shopping on Amazon is possible to a limited extent
It’s not a big deal that in such an unprecedented crisis, exceptional circumstances prevail on Amazon and that you adjust your shopping behaviour accordingly. But let’s be honest: Amazon has simply spoiled us over the last few years, or to put it more drastically: completely “screwed us up”. True to the motto “once a prime customer, always a prime customer” we were simply used to the constant availability of goods and short delivery times. I do not take myself out of this case. For 99% of all my special purchases, I used the Amazon Marketplace, of course, that was never a problem until the emergence of Corona (COVID-19). In the current situation, however, there are some severe limitations and consequently a shift in shopping experience. It’s a strange feeling when the quasi instant availability on Amazon is temporarily no longer possible.
Certain products are in higher demand because of corona (COVID-19)
The example keyword “Webcam” clearly shows how concretely the stop of posting in the Amazon logistics centres is. Most items are practically no longer available or have extended delivery times. Indeed, the limited flow of goods into the warehouses is a good reason for this shortage in the marketplace. However, another reason will be the simultaneous disproportionate demand for specific products. People must adapt their private and professional lives due to exit restrictions and physical contact prohibitions. This means that the demand for products is changing, firmly in parallel. In this case, it is precisely the demand for technical devices that enable home office and video contact with family and friends – in one word: webcams. And what happens when a high demand for products meets a severely limited availability of goods? You guessed right, a shortage of products and thus temporary unavailability.
This situation, however, does not apply to all categories in Amazon’s catalogue. Many items are still available and can be delivered in (almost) the usual speed thanks to our own logistics services. If there are any restrictions on availability, Amazon will display a corresponding note above the search results:
Stocks of certain products may be temporarily limited due to increased demand. We work with our partners to have the goods available again as soon as possible, more information and frequently asked questions about Amazon and COVID-19.
Amazon refers here to a particular COVID 19 landing page, which was set up for the corona situation and answered frequent questions on the subject.
Product availability at Amazon still uncertain
Nobody can currently (as of 31.03.2020) predict how the global situation will develop. Consequently, it is also still uncertain when Amazon will be able to resume a halfway normal regular operation in its warehouses, and thus most articles will be available as usual. The trading giant has given a cautious outlook for this status quo at the beginning of April. Retailers and brands using the FBA services should then be able to send products to the logistics centres again. But that is not certain at the moment.