Amazon sellers face some unique challenges as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, such as those who participate in its lending program.
"Omg so what will happen with our Amazon loans if we can't pay it because we sell allot through fba?!?!" one seller wrote recently on the Amazon discussion boards.
They're referring to the lockdown on Amazon's fulfillment service: Amazon FBA is refusing inbound shipments
for all products except those deemed essential due to the COVID-19 outbreak (household staples and medical supplies) through April 5th. Sellers are concerned they'll still be on the hook for loan repayment even though their sales will almost certainly decline as a result of Amazon's restrictions.
provides sellers with working capital loans. One common use of working capital is for buying inventory; Amazon automatically deducts loan payments from disbursements from sellers.
Sellers who see a dramatic sales decline because they can't send product to Amazon fulfillment centers fear they will go into default on their loans. A reader forwarded us a link to a Reuters article
that outlined the problem, which we forwarded to Amazon.
A spokesperson responded to us with the following statement: "Amazon is working quickly to develop the best ways we can assist our small business lending clients during this crisis, including repayment relief for existing and prospective borrowers."
Exactly how Amazon may help is critical. As one seller wrote on this thread on the Amazon discussion boards
, "Deferred interest by suspending payments without removing all interest charges would cost sellers twice as much in the long run."
Sellers who participate in the FBA fulfillment program are also concerned about their IPI metric (Inventory Performance Index). And one seller asked, "Will our $40 professional merchant account fees be refunded since we can't sell in the categories we normally sell in? Some how I doubt it,..."
Some sellers rely solely on FBA, others use a merchant-fulfilled (FBM) strategy or a combination of the two. Stamps.com offered sellers advice for FBA sellers wanting to fulfill orders themselves, found on this Stamps.com blog post
Stay tuned as marketplaces take different approaches in how they help their online sellers, and let us know what concerns you have.