Top 5 Tips Regarding Amazon Putting a Hold on Creating New Shipping Plans to Help the International Health Crisis (COVID-19)
We are seeing minute-by-minute reports of how people, countries and industries are navigating their way through the International Health Crisis, and today, it was no surprise that Amazon took their initiative to support the supply and distribution of essential products.
WHAT HAPPENED TODAY?
Amazon announced to all sellers by email and Seller Central Dashboard Alerts, that they will be temporarily disabling shipment creation across many categories to prioritise the inventory replenishment of household staples, medical supplies, and other high-demand products coming into their fulfillment centers.
Their aim is to help these necessities during the international health crisis created by novel Coronavirus COVID-19 move faster in processing to restock and deliver these products to customers.
As you can imagine this sent vibrations through the Amazon Seller community. That’s why I wanted to take a moment to review what the key messages were from Amazon, how it affects you as a seller, and most importantly some top tips of how you can remain agile and pivot accordingly.
WHAT DOES THE ANNOUNCEMENT MEAN?
Firstly, it’s important to note that Amazon did entitle their message as ‘Temporarily prioritizing products coming into our fulfillment centers.’
So let’s not overlook that this is a temporary measure.
Specifically Amazon outlined : “This [the disabling of shipping plan creation] will be in effect today [March 17, 2020] through April 5, 2020, and we will let you know once we resume regular operations. Shipments created before today [March 17, 2020) will be received at fulfillment centers.”
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR SELLERS?
If your product is not a household staple, a medical supply, or other product in high-demand you will TEMPORARILY not be able to create an inbound shipping plan and will have to wait until after April 5th.
Unfortunately, as many of us have agonisingly waited for months for China to reopen its production facilities and complete shipments (since January 2020), we have inventory which urgently needs to be shipped out of China to replenish low or out of stock levels.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
The critical element here is to remember that we are in the middle of a significant Global Pandemic and Health Crisis so your energy and focus needs to be on solutions versus wasting time panicking or feeling personally victimised.
We are all in this together. So, let’s put our heads together.
Here’s my Top 5 Tips:
1. Don’t Panic:
- Work on a solution. Solution based thinking always brings you into a positive mindset and brings with it new opportunities. Focusing on politics and blaming Amazon will only serve to drag you into negative thinking and INACTION.
2. Check Inventory Levels & Sales Metrics:
- Review available stock and current sales to identify any new trends or changes in the number of days of stock you now hold if the trends continue. Some sellers are seeing demand that has skyrocketed in the last week due to a frenzy of either panic-stricken or bored customers in lock-down. Being vigilant around your stock means you will feel more in control and make better decisions.
3. Identify If You Need To Take Immediate Action on Ordering Inventory:
- If you have 60-90 days stock at Amazon based on your current sales metrics, you will probably have enough inventory through this period. Therefore you can relax a little more and focus on other areas of your business to maintain and drive sales.
- If you have less than 60 days stock at Amazon, order stock from your factory immediately and reassess the quantity based on the current sales trends.
- If you have no available stock at Amazon BUT have stock in a warehouse locally or at home, switch your fulfillment to FBM (Fulfilled by Merchant) which will allow you to still fulfill orders and meet immediate demand.
4. Assess Your Shipping Options and Solutions:
- If you have zero stock in the marketplace but have stock ready to ship from the factory, try creating a shipping plan. We know some sellers who have been successful in creating a plan after several attempts. If this still fails it means you cannot ship into Amazon before April 5th. So now what?
- If costs permit, we recommend you look into sourcing a new Third-Party Warehouse and send stock into this new warehouse from your factory because you want your inventory to be in the country where you are selling by April.
- If you do not wish to ship inventory into the marketplace during the freeze period you will need to factor in the additional time it will take for Amazon to receive and process inbound shipments. Remember, there will be an anticipated bottleneck of shipments into Amazon the moment the temporary freeze is lifted.
5. Do NOT Delay Important Actions and Do Your Due Diligence:
- Being out of stock halts your business and can seriously impact your business in the longer term. Whichever solution you select, ensure you make rational decisions based on maintaining stock levels for current demand, within the budget you have available.
- Here’s a BONUS PRO TIP when reviewing third warehouses: Work quickly and smartly to find a Third Party Warehouse and just make sure you are comparing warehouse storage quotes and shipping because this business services segment will be exploding with demand from today.
To read the full Amazon announcement for yourself – click below
I hope I have helped explain a little more about what’s happening and what steps you can take to remain on course to take control of your own solutions.
Remember to Be Human. People have lost lives, lost jobs and been separated from their families. So be kind to one another and help out a fellow seller – we are all in this together.
Please keep safe! We all send our thoughts and prayers to you and your families at this difficult time.