COVID-19 Amazon News Updates
With the continued uncertainty around Covid-19 and with what seems to be the daily news cycle around Amazon changes, our Channel Key team is closely monitoring the effects that COVID-19 is having on the Amazon landscape and we want to make sure we keep everyone fully up-to-date on these changes to help you navigate these unprecedented waters. Below are the links that we are watching. We will continue to provide updates on breaking Amazon news as they become available.
Your Thursday, May 28, 2020 Briefing-Amazon COVID-19 Breaking News:
05/28 Amazon Update – Announcing the Enhanced and Expanded FBA New Selection Program
Beginning in March 2019, we offered free monthly storage and removals for new-to-FBA ASINs to make it easier for you to sell new products through FBA. Based on positive seller feedback, we have enhanced and expanded the FBA New Selection program. We have increased the number of new ASINs that can qualify for benefits to 500 per seller, per calendar year, and added limited-time free return processing in select product categories.
Professional sellers with no inventory storage limit* can qualify to get the program’s benefits. See if you have a storage limit. To learn more and enroll, visit FBA New Selection program.
Participation in this program is not affected by the recent restrictions on shipment creation to prioritize essential products.
Free monthly storage and free removals: Sellers enrolled in the program can take advantage of the fee waivers on up to 500 new-to-FBA parent ASINs that they create. All eligible ASINs qualify for free monthly storage for the first 50 units sent to Amazon fulfillment centers for 90 days after the first unit is received. Remove any of those first 50 units within 180 days after the first inventory-received date with no removal fees.
Free return processing for five product categories: For Apparel; Shoes, Handbags & Accessories; Jewelry; Luggage; and Watches, FBA will waive return processing fees for up to 50 units of each ASIN that customers return to the fulfillment center within 120 days of the first inventory-received date.
Discount on shipping: Sellers who are new to FBA can get their first $100 in inbound transportation charges waived if they use the Amazon Partnered Carrier program. ASINs do not have to be new to FBA to get this benefit.
To be eligible for the New Selection program, parent ASINs must be:
- New to FBA
- Received at the fulfillment center after April 1, 2020
- Small standard or large standard size
- In new condition and not in a Media category
To get the benefits of FBA New Selection, you must enroll in the program before sending your new ASINs to the fulfillment center, and you must maintain eligible status. (Participants in the monthly storage and removal fee promotion ended March 31, 2020, are included automatically in the new program.)
Your Wednesday, May 13, 2020 Briefing-Amazon COVID-19 Breaking News:
05/13 Amazon Update – Pause on Account Suspensions for Order Performance Extended to May 31
Thank you for your continued partnership during this difficult and unprecedented time. In early April, we announced that we had paused account suspensions for order performance issues through May 15. This included the Late Shipment Rate, Cancellation Rate, and Order Defect Rate performance metrics. We made this decision after hearing from many of you about supply chain and fulfillment difficulties you were having and in order to protect your account health. We are writing to announce an additional two-week extension of our pause on account suspensions for order performance issues, through May 31.
Beginning June 1, we will restart tracking and enforcing selling accounts with high cancellation rate, late shipment rate, or order defect rate per our established order performance standards. Any order performance defects showing in your Account Health page from prior to June 1 will not be used to evaluate your account health.
Going forward, to help keep your account from incurring order defects and to help create a more reliable experience for customers, we recommend you do the following:
- Closely monitor your inventory levels and make sure your listings accurately reflect available inventory.
- Ensure your default ship settings match your current fulfillment capabilities.
- Monitor customer inquiries received via Buyer-Seller Messaging and respond quickly – at most and within 48 hours. AMAZON SELLER CENTRAL
Your Thursday, May 7, 2020 Briefing-Amazon COVID-19 Breaking News:
05/07 Amazon Update – Waiver of May 15 US long-term storage fees
We thank you for your patience as we’ve made adjustments in our facilities to protect our employees and fulfill the highest priority products that customers need. To ensure we have the capacity to receive, restock, and ship your products to customers, we continue to have delays in removal operations. As a result, we are waiving the May 15 long-term storage fees. You can continue to create removal orders, but there will be delays in completing the requests. Similarly, auto-removals will be delayed.
In addition to the 100,000 jobs we recently filled, we hired an additional 75,000 employees to bring your products into our facilities; pick, pack, and ship products; and help us process these removal orders. You can learn more on this help page. Please note that Amazon, including Selling Partner Support, does not have further guidance. We hope you, your family, and your employees are safe and healthy. Thank you for participating in FBA. AMAZON SELLER CENTRAL
05/07 Amazon Update – Multi-Channel Fulfillment now fulfills FBA Small and Light Items
Items enrolled in the FBA Small and Light program can now be fulfilled through Multi-Channel Fulfillment (MCF). MCF allows sellers to fulfill their inventory to any sales channel outside of Amazon, including their own brand website or e-commerce marketplace. MCF fulfillment fees for FBA Small and Light will be charged based on the current fulfillment fees . AMAZON SELLER CENTRAL
Your Thursday, April 30, 2020 Briefing-Amazon COVID-19 Breaking News:
04/30 Amazon Update – Temporary changes to refund and reimbursement policies for seller-fulfilled orders
For all seller-fulfilled orders (Prime and non-Prime):
From May 1, 2020, to May 31, 2020 (the “extension period”), we are temporarily increasing the time you have to process returned items and refund customers to 14 calendar days for returns delivered to you during this period. The required return processing time will revert to two calendar days after May 31, 2020.
For Amazon prepaid return label returns (Prime and non-Prime):
- During the extension period, the seller reimbursement filing window will be temporarily increased to 90 calendar days. You can submit SAFE-T claims for refunds issued in the prior 90 days during this period. The filing window for SAFE-T claims will revert to 60 days after May 31, 2020.
- You may also file a SAFE-T claim for refunds that you issued during the extension period. These claims will be processed in the same manner as standard SAFE-T claims in which Amazon Customer Service issues a refund to a customer.
- During the SAFE-T claim investigation process, Amazon investigators typically allow you up to a week to provide any required additional information before closing a claim. During this extension period, we will keep your claims open to give you additional time to submit any additional information. Your claim status will remain in “Awaiting Seller Response” status until we receive your response to the questions. After May 31, 2020, the time to provide additional information for claims will revert to one week, after which the claim will be closed.
- In line with the extension of the customer return window, during the extension period, you will need to wait 30 days to file a “Lost in transit” claim for any refund issued by Amazon during the extension period.
These changes are temporary and subject to the timelines mentioned above. Our standard SAFE-T claim process will resume policy starting on May 31, 2020. AMAZON SELLER CENTRAL
Your Monday, April 20, 2020 Briefing-Amazon COVID-19 Breaking News:
04/20 Amazon Update – Products Eligible for Shipment Creation (US)
“Beginning April 18, 2020 more products are eligible for shipment creation. We continue to focus on ensuring our ability to fulfill the highest priority products that customers need at this time. While a broader set of products can now be sent to our fulfillment centers, we are limiting the quantity you can send for some of these products.”
Amazon says that you can see products that are eligible for shipment creation in the Restock Inventory page and the Restock report. Products that are eligible and have quantity limits will be marked with a Limited restock tag. The company is currently not accepting requests for higher quantity limits. AMAZON SELLER CENTRAL
Your Monday, April 13, 2020 Briefing-Amazon COVID-19 Breaking News:
04/13 Amazon Pausing Account Suspensions for Order Performance Through May 15
“Similar to how Amazon is working to get our fulfillment capabilities back to regular operation, we have heard from many of you who are also facing challenges in running your businesses. To protect your account and ensure these supply chain and fulfillment difficulties do not impact your Account Health, beginning March 20, we stopped suspending selling accounts for high cancelation or high late shipment rates. Effective will stay in effect through May 15. We will continue to evaluate the situation, and let you know if we will extend this further. “AMAZON SELLER CENTRAL
The company goes on to say that they encourage sellers to put their accounts on vacation if they are unable to fulfill orders successfully.
04/13 Amazon Allowing Third-party Sellers to Ship Nonessential Items
“Amazon will soon allow third-party merchants to ship nonessential items to its warehouses, the company confirmed to CNBC. Starting later this week, the company will begin to accept more products in its warehouses, an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement. Amazon told sellers in March that it would “temporarily prioritize” household staples, medical supplies and other essential product categories in response to a surge in demand from the coronavirus outbreak.” CNBC
Your Wednesday, April 8, 2020 Briefing-Amazon COVID-19 Breaking News:
04/08 Amazon suspending its third-party delivery service
“Since the COVID-19 pandemic began spreading across America, Amazon’s shipping times have slipped, which has resulted in even Prime customers seeing their items delayed. Last month Amazon announced it would hire 100,000 workers for its warehouses and delivery service as more customers than ever turned to buying products online instead of risking a trip to the store. The suspension of Amazon Shipping then is just the latest attempt by Amazon to get its core business back on track.” FAST COMPANY
Your Friday, April 3, 2020 Briefing-Amazon COVID-19 Breaking News:
04/03 Amazon postponing Prime Day Sales Event Due to COVID-19
“Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) is postponing its major summer shopping event Prime Day until at least August and expects a potential $100-million hit from excess devices it may now have to sell at a discount, according to internal meeting notes seen by Reuters.” REUTERS
04/02 Amazon Temporary Return Window Extension
“We are closely monitoring the developments of COVID-19. Nothing is more important than the health and well-being of our customers. Selling partners, employees, and the communities we serve. To give customers more time to return items in these challenging times, we have temporarily extended the return window of our returns policy. We request that you match our returns policy for the applicable Amazon website, regardless of your fulfillment solution.”
“For orders placed on Amazon.com, most items delivered between March 1, 2020, and April 30, 2020, can now be returned until May 31, 2020.” AMAZON SELLER CENTRAL
Your Wednesday, April 1, 2020 Briefing-Amazon COVID-19 Breaking News:
04/01 COVID-19: FBA Storage Fee Waiver
On March 30, 2020 Amazon announced that it would be waiving FBA storage fees. Considering the COVID-19 crisis, Amazon will waive two weeks of inventory storage fees for products stored in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Poland, and the Czech Republic. This is in addition to previously announced updates from the company including waiving the April 15 long-term storage fees for inventory stored in the US and Europe and waiving Strategic Account Management Services and Amazon Launchpad program fees for April.
“We are also making policy adjustments to proactively mitigate the impact of the crisis on the health of your Amazon seller account and you can now use the updated Restock Inventory page and Restock report to check which products are eligible for shipment creation.”
“We are committed to helping our selling partners during the crisis. As the pandemic continues, we will continue to evaluate the situation and work to reduce the impact on our selling partners, while meeting the essential needs of our customers and protecting the health and safety of our associates.”
The company is seeing many of its selling partners providing high priority health and household products to people around the world, especially the elderly and most vulnerable. Amazon is working directly with some of its selling partners to get medical supplies to healthcare providers, first responders, and government agencies. In addition, many sellers are making donations and contributions to their communities on their own, such as the glassware company making hand sanitizer or the sleep pillow seller donating thousands of pairs of compression socks to healthcare workers. Amazon selling partners are helping meet people’s critical needs in this unprecedented time. AMAZON SELLER CENTRAL
04/01 COVID-19: Amazon Temporarily Disabling Vine Enrollments
“We are seeing increased online shopping and as a result some products such as household staples and medical supplies are out of stock. With this in mind, we are temporarily prioritizing sourcing household staples, medical supplies and other high-demand products coming into our fulfillment centers so that we can more quickly receive, restock, and ship these products to customers. As a result, we are temporarily disabling Vine enrollments. This will be in effect until further notice, and we will let you know once we resume regular operations. Vine Voices will still be able to request in stock units.” AMAZON SELLER CENTRAL
Your Friday, March 27, 2020 Briefing-Amazon COVID-19 Breaking News
03/27 COVID-19: Update on prioritized shipment creation, new tool to check eligibility
Amazon posted a follow up to their announcement on March 17. Amazon stated that the company is continuing to focus their available capacity on the highest priority products that customers need at this time, while also adhering to social distancing guidance within their fulfillment centers to keep their employees safe and healthy. Amazon will continue prioritizing the products that they can receive beyond April 5, and they are now able to broaden this list. Given the company’s constrained capacity, they are doing this on an item-by-item basis.
Amazon has updated it’s Restock Inventory page and Restock report in Seller Central so you can check which products are eligible for shipment creation. When determining eligibility Amazon says that it is taking many factors into consideration, including high-demand products customers need now; current inventory levels and inventory in transit; fulfillment center capacity; and their ability to adhere to the latest health guidelines. Amazon will regularly update the Restock Inventory page and Restock report as capacity allows them to receive additional products.
All sellers need to check their individual accounts to see the exact changes that have been made and what “high-demand” products they can now send in. AMAZON SELLER CENTRAL
Your Tuesday, March 24, 2020 Briefing-Amazon COVID-19 Breaking News
03/24 Amazon Will Temporarily Pause All Removal Operations and Waiving Long Term Storage Fees Until April 15, 2020.
To ensure the capacity to receive, restock, and ship high priority products like household staples and medical supplies, Amazon has temporarily paused removal operations in some of their fulfillment centers. Sellers can continue to use create removal orders, but there will be delays in completing the requests. Auto removals will also be delayed. As a result, Amazon is waiving the April 15 long-term storage fees for inventory stored in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Poland, and the Czech Republic. AMAZON SELLER CENTRAL
03/24 Through April 5, 2020 Amazon Will Not Be Accepting New Promotional Coupons
“To help our teams prioritize high demand products that customers need at this time, we are not accepting new coupons through April 5, 2020. All previously submitted coupons that are in Running or Submitted states will run for inventory already in place. Please note that Selling Partner Support does not have further guidance.” AMAZON SELLER CENTRAL
Your Monday, March 23, 2020 Briefing-COVID-19 Amazon News Updates:
03/21 Amazon Prime Delivery Delays Close to a Month Long in Outbound Shipments for Non-Essentials
“On Sunday, customers and Amazon merchants posted on social media platforms saying certain nonessential items were showing April 21 delivery dates, even though they were listed as in-stock and shipping with Amazon’s Prime express shipping service.” NEW YORK POST
3/21 Amazon Stopping Shipments of Non-Essentials to Italy and France
“Effective immediately, Amazon will stop receiving FBA (fulfillment by Amazon) orders from customers on non-essential products on its Italy (Amazon.it) and France (Amazon.fr) site, so that operations employees can focus on fulfilling and delivering on the orders that consumers need the most now,” according to a message Amazon.com sent to Chinese sellers over the WeChat social media platform“ REUTERS
03/21 Amazon Supporting Employees and People Laid Off – Jeff Bezos open letter to his employees regarding COVID-19
Over the weekend, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos thanked his employees for their hard work in an open letter. Bezos wrote, “Across the world, people are feeling the economic effects of this crisis, and I’m sad to tell you I predict things are going to get worse before they get better. We’re hiring for 100,000 new roles and raising wages for our hourly workers who are fulfilling orders and delivering to customers during this period of stress and turmoil. At the same time, other businesses like restaurants and bars are being forced to shut their doors. We hope people who’ve been laid off will come work with us until they’re able to go back to the jobs they had.” AMAZON
03/16 Amazon Announces Temporary Product Shipping Prioritization Due to COVID-19 Order Demand
On March 16, 2020, Amazon announced that they will be temporarily prioritizing products coming into their fulfillment centers. Amazon says that the company will temporarily be prioritizing household staples, medical supplies, and other high-demand products coming into their fulfillment centers so that they can more quickly receive, restock, and ship these products to customers. AMAZON SELLER CENTRAL