Amazon is prioritizing shipments of essential items to its warehouses, as it struggles to keep up with demand in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
As governments, schools and companies take drastic measures to stop the spread of the virus, unprecedented numbers of individuals are staying home. With restaurants and bars closed in many areas, and grocery store shelves running light, people are having to rely on their home supplies and online shopping like never before. The new status quo has strained supply chains, prompting even Walmart to adjust hours to help give stocking crews a chance to catch up.
Amazon has likewise felt the strain, and is now taking major action to try to meet demand.
“As COVID-19 has spread, we’ve recently seen an increase in people shopping online which has had an impact on how we serve our customers,” reads a company blog post. “So in the short term, we are making the decision to temporarily prioritize household staples, medical supplies and other high-demand products coming into our fulfillment centers so we can more quickly receive, restock and ship these products to customers. Products already on its way to our fulfillment centers will be accepted. This does not impact products being delivered to customers, or products currently in stock in our store. Customers can continue to buy any in-stock product in our store, and we will continue to deliver them.”
Amazon’s announcement is a major change and will likely have far-reaching financial consequences for companies that rely on Amazon to sell their products. Amazon has already faced tremendous skepticism from retail companies who are reluctant to rely on the company’s cloud solutions, as Amazon is one of their biggest competitors. Now that many companies are seeing one of their primary order fulfillment avenues suspend shipment of their products, even temporarily, companies may be more hesitant to rely as heavily on Amazon in the future.