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Sun Sept 10 2017 09:31:50

Amazon Meets a Foe It Can't Conquer: Hurricane Irma

By: Ina Steiner

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Sometimes it seems there's no competitor or industry Amazon can't conquer, but this month, its limitations became apparent when customers in Florida said it failed to deliver orders in advance of Hurricane Irma.

"Hurricane supplies delivered to your door? Good luck with that," the Miami Herald wrote in an article on Friday: "Now customers are complaining about messages from Amazon that their hurricane deliveries are being delayed, sometimes with no time frame given for the new delivery - even on orders placed as early as Monday. (Prime normally promises two-day delivery.) That, while Amazon was promoting two-hour delivery in a "storm readiness" section on its Prime Now site."

Sellers are also concerned about the impact of the hurricane on their performance metrics. eBay promised to protect seller impacted by Harvey and now Irma - specifically, sellers won't receive defects for stockouts or unresolved cases with buyers, and their late shipment rate won't be impacted. (It appears buyers could still leave negative feedback, however.)

What's new this year - eBay is providing phone numbers for sellers to get help in shutting their stores. "If you don't have direct internet access, eBay can help you make the necessary changes.  Please contact customer service at 1 (866) 540-3229 and update them on your situation."

It's less clear how Amazon will handle hurricane-related delays for third-party sellers. "I shipped orders to Miami, scheduled to arrive today Saturday 9/9, but see the Post Office there has closed and plans not to re-open at least through Thursday 9/14," one seller asked. "Obviously, the deliveries will be at least a week late due to the weather emergency. Will Amazon count the delayed deliveries against my Performance Metrics?"

Amazon did send an email to sellers located within areas potentially impacted by Hurricane Irma offering the following advice: 
 
-If you anticipate that you will be unable to meet your shipping service levels, consider temporarily setting your seller-fulfilled listings to inactive.

-To help preserve buyer trust and avoid negative feedback, contact buyers of seller-fulfilled orders via the Buyer-Seller Messaging Service about the status of their orders.

USA Today said the hurricane-related delays of online orders showed there was still a need for retail stores. But Forrester Research analyst James McQuivey told the newspaper that in 5 years, Amazon will have the ability to do much better in handling hurricane deliveries: "Their artificial intelligence will be able to anticipate that you'll need emergency supplies, and pre-fetch the order." He told the newspaper, the moment the hurricane warnings start to go out, Amazon will ship out water and other supplies, and they'll just show up at your door.

Ecommerce is changing the way consumers shop, and events like Harvey and Irma highlight important challenges - and opportunities to do better - at times of disaster.




Comments (10) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Amazon Meets a Foe It Can't Conquer: Hurricane Irma   Amazon Meets a Foe It Can't Conquer: Hurricane Irma

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Sun Sep 10 10:56:02 2017

A friend ordered a gift for me on Amazon last week.

They said 2 day delivery, it took 6 days!

He wasn't too happy about his "Prime" service. . .

But I was happy with the gift and thanked him dearly for it.

He also told me he got a message from eBay that the item price had been lowered but it was too late he had already ordered it Amazon. He's trying to figure out how eBay knew he was looking for it on Amazon and reduced the price to match Amazons.

I told him he had eBay cookies watching his every move on the net. . .

Amazon Meets a Foe It Can't Conquer: Hurricane Irma   Amazon Meets a Foe It Can't Conquer: Hurricane Irma

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Sun Sep 10 11:28:08 2017

But But Ebay has guaranteed delivery at all times. NOT

Amazon Meets a Foe It Can't Conquer: Hurricane Irma   Amazon Meets a Foe It Can't Conquer: Hurricane Irma

by: Frank Abagnale This user has validated their user name.

Sun Sep 10 12:31:55 2017

This might have an impact as to where Amazon will have it's second HQ. In my opinion,I think Amazon already has one or two cities in mind but it's inviting all cities to participate to make sure they get the best deal from the city they really want. I think it will be east of the Mississippi and I think the Northeast is too obvious but with all the possible snowstorms year after year, and with the already high prices for places to live like New York City, I think a place like Atlanta (busiest airport, less weather issues, reasonable real estate) is a serious contender.  

Amazon Meets a Foe It Can't Conquer: Hurricane Irma   Amazon Meets a Foe It Can't Conquer: Hurricane Irma

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Sun Sep 10 13:16:42 2017

24 hours or so from now, the videos of the immense destruction to come will reveal the real important impacts of this 'foe', and it will fall upon the lives and property devastated, if not lost.

Hopefully, any who's precious disposable income commodity 'stuff' was delayed by a few days because of a need to impose a 'shelter in place' curfew upon ppl too dense to literally come in out of the rain, and who's delayed gratification represents such a paramount inconvenience despite other's more unfortunate brush with nature, will find some way to relative patience.

As for Amazon, they're so busy scheming how to anticipate and monetize future consumer related events, they seem to be missing the need for nimble action right now.  

Incidentally, this storm is going to e-impact more than FL.  NWS is forecasting borderline hurricane force winds as far north as Atlanta (a major transfer hub for goods shipped) by mid week.  

Also, any seller who's outgoing parcel is 'delayed' should prepare for the possibility of getting it back, pending reshipment to an eventual change of address.  

Because the original one may no longer be there.

Amazon Meets a Foe It Can't Conquer: Hurricane Irma   Amazon Meets a Foe It Can't Conquer: Hurricane Irma

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Sun Sep 10 13:41:11 2017

@Frank Abagnale

A good friend that works at Amazon says he thinks Dallas will get the new HQ

Amazon Meets a Foe It Can't Conquer: Hurricane Irma   Amazon Meets a Foe It Can't Conquer: Hurricane Irma

by: debranator This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 11 00:59:57 2017

I ordered hurricane lanterns on wed. and they came on friday.
I would never have been able to find them at a B and M.
BUT, Whenever I tried to order water on prime now...for 3 days..even though it showed in stock and was added to my cart...they said that there were no delivery times available.

Amazon Meets a Foe It Can't Conquer: Hurricane Irma   Amazon Meets a Foe It Can't Conquer: Hurricane Irma

by: Barbbie This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 11 08:56:10 2017

Ebay has called me every time there is a flood or hurricane in my area for years, even if it is a hundred miles away.

Amazon or any other place has ever called nor expressed any concern at all.

I remember contacting Amazon once about a post office closure, it was just a day, but Amazon told me basically go pound sand....not their problem, my problem, my metrics. If it gets to the point I would be suspended they would look at it.  It ended up fine even for my metrics,but no help from them.

Amazon Meets a Foe It Can't Conquer: Hurricane Irma   Amazon Meets a Foe It Can't Conquer: Hurricane Irma

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Mon Sep 11 17:27:06 2017

Both Harvey & Irma have affected my sales.

Texas & Florida are my #1 & #2 points of sale. . .

It can only get better from here!

Amazon Meets a Foe It Can't Conquer: Hurricane Irma   Amazon Meets a Foe It Can't Conquer: Hurricane Irma

by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 11 20:05:02 2017

Amazon are idiots. We see their true colors here.

I suggest all sellers jump ship and take away 59% of their profits...teach them a lesson.

These should not only not effect metrics but any negative left should be auto removed. End of story

Amazon Meets a Foe It Can't Conquer: Hurricane Irma   Amazon Meets a Foe It Can't Conquer: Hurricane Irma

by: Twiganne This user has validated their user name.

Fri Sep 15 18:33:48 2017

How can they just send orders to your door because they anticipate you will need them.  What if you want to get them from elsewhere.  I guess they will paying for a lot of returned orders shipping or eat the cost of the supplies which I seriously doubt.  I don't want anyone to send me things anticipating my needs.  If I need it I will order it far enough in advance.  I heard on the news that Pam Bondi, the attorney general of Fl, is going after Amazon for price gouging victims of the storms.  It seems they were charging 9.99 for a case of water that you can buy at the store for 3.00.  From what I understand Amazon didn't want the bad publicity so donated lots of water to the state.  Could have been good citizens and got off some of their mega profits in the first place!



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