Sellers on the Amazon.com Inc. marketplace, like all retailers and business owners, are figuring out how to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus, called COVID-19. Given how quickly restrictions on businesses from local governments and marketplace platforms are changing, some sellers have had to switch strategies daily.

22% of retailers say they are making adjustments to their marketplace strategy as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a Digital Commerce 360 survey of 304 retailers during the first week of March. But what those adjustments are may be different for each merchant. Some are sending more products to Amazon, while others may be focused on sales on their own websites where they have a higher profit margin since they don’t have to pay Amazon a commission on each sale or fees for such added benefits as fulfillment.

Amazon suspends shipment of “nonessential” products

Right as some sellers were planning to lean more on Amazon, however, the ecommerce giant announced late Monday that it will temporarily suspend shipments of “non-essential” products to its Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) warehouses from its third-party marketplace merchants in the U.S. and EU. With FBA, Amazon stores sellers’ products in its warehouses and delivers the products to consumers. When sellers use FBA, their products are a part of Prime, Amazon’s loyalty program that offers 2-day free shipping, free streaming of TV shows and more.

Shipments to Amazon fulfillment centers suspended until April 5

Shipments to Amazon fulfillment centers are currently suspended through April 5. For now, Amazon (No. 1 in the Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000) will only accept new inventory of products that fall into household staples, medical supplies and other high-demand categories like baby products, health, personal care, grocery and pet supplies. According to Amazon, the decision was made in order to fulfill high-demand products and reduce delivery times.

“We’ve never had to continuously make so many drastic business decisions in such a short period of time,” says Andrew Jacobs, CEO of online office supplies retailer Jam Paper & Envelope, which sells on its own website and marketplaces, including Amazon. Jam Paper’s products do not fall into Amazon’s “essential” categories.

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