Amazon Temporarily Pausing Customer Orders for Low-Priority Products, Prioritizes Essential Products in India

, Amazon Temporarily Pausing Customer Orders for Low-Priority Products, Prioritizes Essential Products in India

Amazon today said that it is temporarily discontinuing accepting orders for “lower-priority” products in India and prioritizing servicing urgent items such as household staples, health care, and personal safety products as the e-commerce player — along with several of their competitors — grapples with coronavirus outbreak in one of its key overseas markets.

“We are closely monitoring the developments of COVID-19 and its impact on our customers, selling partners, and employees. As you are already aware, a large number of districts/states are taking precautionary measures with extensive lockdowns and restricted movement of goods and people. At the same time, there is increased demand for priority products and important services. To serve our customers’ most urgent needs while also ensuring safety of our employees, we are temporarily prioritizing our fulfillment and logistics capacity to serve products that are currently critical for our customers such as Household Staples, Packaged Food, Health Care, Hygiene, Personal safety and other high priority products. This also means that we have to temporarily stop taking orders and disable shipments for other products.” the American e-commerce giant said in a statement.

“For all pending customer orders, we are reaching out to customers and giving them a choice to cancel their orders, and will issue a refund in case of pre-paid orders,” it added.

Amazon has also shared a help page for sellers: COVID-19 Seller Help Page

The move, which goes into effect today, comes as nearly every Indian state has imposed a lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Several other players including Flipkart, and grocers Grofers and BigBasket are also facing severe disruptions in their services as they struggle to procure items and deliver it to customers.

Amazon has also shared a few FAQs for its sellers:

1. What are the products that be affected by this change?
All products except Household Staples, Packaged Food, Health Care, Hygiene, Personal safety, and other high priority products are considered low-priority. We will continue to update the categories based on guidance from the government and our available logistics capacities.

2. Which channels are impacted by this change?
This change applies to all fulfillment channels – FBA, Seller Flex, Easy Ship and Self Ship.
FBA: We are prioritizing the above list of products coming into our Fulfillment Centers (FC) so we can more quickly receive, restock and deliver these products to customers. For all other products, FCs will not accept inbounds at the moment. This will be in effect today (24th March 2020) and we will let you know when we resume normal operations.
Easy Ship: You will not receive orders for any low-priority products. If you are selling priority products, you may receive orders for those products and we will do our best to pick them up as per normal operations.
Seller Flex: You will not receive orders for any low-priority products. If you are selling priority products, you may receive orders for those products and we will do our best to pick them up as per normal operations.
Self Ship: Please work with your carriers to manage the delivery of orders you receive.

3. Is this similar to measures Amazon has taken in the US? 
A similar measure has been applied in the US and EU.

4. What if I already have an FBA inbound shipment on its way?
While we will do our best to receive shipments already on the way, please be aware that we are operating at constrained capacity and may have to, unfortunately, turn the shipment back. However, we recommend you to recall all shipments not containing priority products.

5. What will happen to my FBA FC appointments that are scheduled for future dates?
We are canceling all appointments scheduled for future dates that contain low-priority items. Please check the email/seller central for updates. Shipments will be allowed to get created only for priority products from now till operations normalize and we request you to seek fresh appointments for these shipments. If you have already created shipments for low-priority items, please don’t request appointments as we will not be able to honor them. We will also cancel all such FBA shipments of low-priority items in your account if appointments are requested. Please note that ATS pickups for FBA shipments have also been disabled till operations normalize.

6. What happens to my inventory which is already in the FCs? Can I place removal orders for this inventory?

All products which are already in the FCs but not currently made available for purchase by customers will be exempt from Storage Fee for the impacted period. While you may see the regular storage fee charged, you will receive a reimbursement for the period for these products within the next two billing cycles. Additionally, these products will not be considered for the LTSF aging calculation for the period.
Removal orders have been put on hold till operations normalize. With the limited operations capability, we are catering to customer orders only and will be unable to process removal orders. We have also stopped all auto-removals till operations normalize.

7. What happens to existing orders that haven’t shipped out / yet to be scheduled /pending pick up and which is part of the low-priority list?
FBA: Customer orders that have not been shipped out are delayed because of the constraints in our FCs. We have given customers the option to cancel these orders. If they cancel, then these orders will not be shipped. If they choose to not cancel, then these orders will remain pending and we will try to fulfill these orders when possible.

Seller Flex: We have given customers the option to cancel these orders. If they cancel, then these orders will be removed from your site. If they choose to not cancel, then these orders will remain on your site and we will try to fulfill these orders when possible. Any negative impact on seller performance metrics due to this issue will not be considered while evaluating your Seller Flex performance.

Easy Ship: We have given customers the option to cancel these orders. If they cancel, then these orders will be removed from your pending orders. If they choose to not cancel, then these orders will remain pending and we will try to fulfill these orders when possible. In addition, you can also choose to cancel any orders that you are unable to fulfill. Please refer to the help page to cancel the orders: https://go.pardot.com/e/804503/gp-help-G201722390-/yqsj/60289237?h=v8_FHpOHo-w09SJWrykN3RpO9QhO8Ax8kdBs_4D8VXI Any negative impact on seller performance metrics due to this issue will not be considered while evaluating your seller central account and you will not have to do anything from your end.

Self-ship: We have given customers the option to cancel these orders. If they cancel, then these orders will be removed from your pending orders. If they choose to not cancel, then these orders will remain pending and we will try to fulfill these orders when possible. In addition, you can also choose to cancel any orders that you are unable to fulfill. Any negative impact on seller performance metrics due to this issue will not be considered while evaluating your seller central account and you will not have to do anything from your end.

8. What do I do if I do receive orders for low-priority products?
Please cancel any such orders as we will not be able to deliver them until we update you on any changes. Please refer to the help page to cancel the orders: https://go.pardot.com/e/804503/gp-help-G201722390-/yqsj/60289237?h=v8_FHpOHo-w09SJWrykN3RpO9QhO8Ax8kdBs_4D8VXI Any negative impact on seller performance metrics due to this issue will not be considered while evaluating your seller central account and you will not have to do anything from your end.

9. My product is listed within the prioritized categories, but I am not getting any appointments at the FCs. What should I do?
If the appointment calendar is blacked out completely, please use the ‘Request Appointment’ option on the same page. If you are still having issues in getting appointments confirmed, please speak to your account manager or write to appointmentwala@amazon.com.

10. What happens if this measure from Amazon affects my account performance adversely?
Any negative impact on seller performance metrics due to this issue will not be considered while evaluating your Seller Central account. You will not have to do anything from your end.

11. Will I see my order cancellations increasing?
Yes. You are likely to see an increase in order cancellations. The primary reason for this is that we are delayed in meeting our delivery promises to customers due to the prevailing exceptional circumstances. Therefore, we are providing customers the option of canceling their orders. This will also ensure that you don’t face challenges with returns and rejects at a later date due to the delayed deliveries. However, please be assured that you will not be charged a cancellation fee for these orders and you will not have to do anything at your end.

12. I received a notification that my order is canceled and I need to keep my cancellation rate below 2.5%. Why am I receiving this?
Any negative impact on seller performance metrics due to this issue will not be considered while evaluating your Seller Central account. Please be assured that you will not be charged a cancellation fee for these orders and you will not have to do anything at your end.

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