Amazon sends signals that shipping times are returning to normal

Amazon is removing restrictions on non-essential items in its warehouses and revisiting popular site features, marking the last signs that it is recovering from coronavirus delays.

The company began to inform third-party sellers on Saturday that it would no longer limit the quantity of new non-essential goods shipped. Previously, Amazon had placed a “Limited Restock” label on products shipped to Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) warehouses, but as of this weekend, the label has been removed, meaning sellers can send as many inventory they want, said Juozas Kaziukenas. , who runs the e-commerce market research firm Marketplace Pulse.

Kristen Kish, an Amazon spokesperson, confirmed that the company has removed quantity restrictions on non-essentials.

“We have removed the limits on the quantity of products that our suppliers can send to our distribution centers,” said Kish. “We continue to follow extensive health and safety measures to protect our employees when they choose, package and ship products to customers, and improve delivery speeds to our store.”

Internal of the business community previously reported that Amazon has lifted restrictions on new FBA shipments. FBA is Amazon’s program that allows individual sellers to ship their products to an Amazon warehouse, and Amazon ships the product to customers for a discount on each sale.

Jason Boyce, a former Amazon seller who is now a consultant to third-party merchants, told CNBC that all of his customers had their product restrictions lifted. “I don’t know how long it will stay like this, but it is a sign of hope for the sellers,” he said.

Prior to the change, Amazon had capped the number of units sellers could send per order to its warehouses. For example, the new FBA lists were limited to 50 units per order. The sellers told CNBC that the restrictions made it difficult for them to keep up with a wave of orders from buyers during the pandemic and resulted in the out of stock of many popular products.

Amazon survived a series of logistical nightmares during the coronavirus epidemic as quarantined buyers rushed to the site, panicking about buying toilet paper and a hand sanitizer. In March, at the height of the pandemic, Amazon announced that it would prioritize shipments of household goods and medical supplies to its warehouses, as it was overwhelmed with demand for these items.

The company is committed in more than one way to bring delivery times back to normal. Amazon said it would invest its expected second quarter profit of $ 4 billion on expenses related to coronaviruses, including “supply of products to customers and employee safety”. But even with these expenses, Amazon said it remains difficult to predict when day and two-day shipping will resume.

“Right now, things are still so much in suspense that I can’t really predict when that day will be,” Amazon chief financial officer Brian Olsavsky told investors in the company’s latest earnings call. early this month.

There are other signs that Amazon is beginning to balance the demand for essential and non-essential items in its warehouses. Earlier this week, Amazon added the featured offers and coupons section to its site, both of which have been removed to prevent consumers from making additional purchases. Other features of its site, such as the “Frequently bought together” widget on product lists, were also restored this week.

Amazon’s online grocery delivery companies are also starting to resume normal service. Prime Pantry, which allows customers to purchase packaged groceries and household items, is now back online after it temporarily closed in March. In addition, new customers who sign up for Amazon Fresh or Whole Foods are no longer required to join a virtual waiting list before they can use the services.

Next day delivery is now starting to come back online for some cities in the United States, said Kaziukenas, noting that delivery times appear to be improving. However, until Amazon can restore its normally quick one- and two-day shipping options for Prime subscribers, the warehouses will not be fully recovered, he added.

“Amazon was in a race against the clock to restore fast shipping because without it it sent customers to look elsewhere,” said Kaziukenas. “It’s not done yet, but they appear after deliveries several weeks in April, at least for the most popular items.”

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