Amazon executive Dharmesh Mehta told sellers the company has heard from many of them about the significant challenges they face in maintaining inventory levels, coordinating operations, logistics, and fulfillment capabilities, and in managing day-to-day business and employees – as well as balancing changes in their personal lives – due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Vice President of Customer Trust and Partner Support wrote in his post, “These are challenging and unprecedented times, but our team is working hard to serve you, our customers, and the community. I wanted to share some of the key decisions that we have made, and some of the things that you can expect from us in the future as we get through this together.”
He summarized some of the previously announced actions Amazon has taken, such as allowing more products into fulfillment centers – though it continues on fulfilling “the highest priority products that customers need at this time,” and is therefore placing some limits on the quantity FBA sellers can send.
Mehta said Amazon the actions it had taken to protect sellers (stopped suspension of selling accounts for high order defect, high cancellation, and high late shipment rates) would stay in effect through at least May 15 – “and we will extend these as appropriate.”
But he also advised sellers to put their account on vacation mode if they could not fulfill products – “making reliable promises for customers is particularly important at this time,” he said.
He summarized some of the other actions Amazon had taken to help sellers during the pandemic:
1) Paused repayment of all Amazon Lending loans for sellers in the United States and the United Kingdom until April 30.
2) Waived 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.
3) Waived the April 15 long-term storage fees for inventory stored in those same countries.
Mehta told sellers that in the coming weeks, Amazon would launch “new ways for experts to share what they have learned and are doing to help businesses manage through this difficult time.”
“We want you to know that many of us at Amazon are working tirelessly to find new ways to support you and your business, and that as always, we are listening when you tell us about your challenges through our support team, the seller forums, or the emails you have sent over the past few weeks. We value you and your honest and open feedback to help us focus on what is most important to you right now.”
Seller reaction to the post varied. We noticed there wasn’t much in the way of news, but that it was more personal, and one seller said they’d like to see more such posts with a name attached.
Some sellers who use Amazon’s fulfillment service expressed concerns that thanks to the restrictions on inbound shipments to FBA warehouses, they would be unable to make their payments through the Amazon Lending program on May 1st – see today’s AuctionBytes Blog post for developments on that front.