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War in Ukraine Impacts Online Sellers and Marketplaces

Ecommerce platforms
War in Ukraine Impacts Online Sellers and Marketplaces

When briefing Wall Street analysts on Thursday about Etsy’s fourth-quarter financials, CEO Josh Silverman took a moment to acknowledge Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that day, which he said weighed heavily on all of them. “I wanted to acknowledge our hearts go out to our buyers and sellers in the community in Ukraine and Eastern Europe as well as our global community that’s impacted.”

People around the world have faced the pandemic, supply-chain issues, and inflation – and now they’re dealing with war in Europe that has far-reaching impact beyond Ukraine.

Comments from users on industry discussion boards have ranged from the political to the practical. “How do I block buyers from the Russian Federation. At the moment nothing is going to get there,” an eBay seller asked on the UK discussion boards on Sunday. Another seller advised them on how to change their settings. Others advised them to add Ukraine and Belarus to the list.

Shipments to and from Ukraine are obviously impacted by the war, but as other countries pressure the aggressor, shipments to Russia are also being impacted.

  • USPS advised that postal deliveries in Ukraine were suspended on February 24th.
  • UPS suspended all international shipping services to and from Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus.
  • FedEx temporarily suspended inbound and outbound services to Ukraine and inbound service to Russia.
  • DHL stopped accepting new shipments to Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus.

While shipping is an immediate concern for sellers, some also use developers in countries impacted by the conflict to power their online stores and websites.

BigCommerce, which is headquartered in Texas, has offices in the Ukraine capital of Kyiv, the seventh-most populous city in Europe and under fire by Russia’s army. The ecommerce platform took to social media the day of the invasion of Ukraine, writing on Facebook: “Our hearts are with our employees and their loved ones in Ukraine. We care deeply about them as friends, colleagues and human beings, and our primary concern is ensuring their personal safety. We are in active contact with our colleagues and are supporting their needs as the situation evolves. Please keep Ukraine in your thoughts and prayers.”

Online marketplace Etsy said it cancelled the current balances owed to Etsy by all sellers in Ukraine on February 28, representing approximately $4 million.

Etsy also asked sellers to refrain from making comments hostile to members of its international community and to avoid off-topic conversations or discussing political events.

Amazon announced Tuesday it would support humanitarian efforts in Ukraine (according to Geekwire, Amazon doesn’t have any direct operations in Ukraine.)

And eBay announced on Friday said it was temporarily pausing sales to buyers with shipping addresses in Ukraine and Russia and said it would automatically protect seller performance of impacted businesses.

Signifyd published a blog post today highlighting how Russia’s attack on Ukraine has impacted ecommerce sales, with some interesting stats by region and by type-of-good.

Signifyd said changes in shopping behavior demonstrate support for the people of Ukraine. “The beleaguered country’s supporters have found different ways to express solidarity and sympathy – protests, prayers, donations, social posts and the purchase of Ukrainian-themed items, such as flags, t-shirts, traditional clothing and wooden dolls.”

As usual, scammers take advantage of people’s emotions during crises. BBB was out with a warning and tips via Give.org and said, “We certainly encourage generosity to help the people in Ukraine but caution donors to avoid questionable appeals.”

It’s also important to be wary of misinformation, particularly on social media. There’s an impulse to immediately share news stories, but some people are profiting from fake content on social media, as NBC News reported.

Ina Steiner on EmailIna Steiner on LinkedinIna Steiner on Twitter
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.

One thought on “War in Ukraine Impacts Online Sellers and Marketplaces”

  1. Today, IKEA announced that all operations in Russia will stop while thousands of jobs will be eliminated. It is said that this war is not a war of the Russian people, but rather, a war of Putin. However, it’s the people of Russia that will rise to cause strife for Putin. E-commerce sites need to get rid of sellers from Russia and their few allies, such as India….just announced yesterday, that India is NOT denouncing Russia’s actions.

    E-commerce companies need to “step up” too…they need to sanction Russian sellers. We need the pressure on Russian citizens to perform a “Palace Kudeta”. This is really scary stuff! The madman is unleashed and the whole world is now threatened.

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