Discover the top Amazon news stories in March 2020 that caught our eye.

March 23-29

Amazon removal order delays and long-term storage fee waiver: In some good news for sellers, Amazon has announced that they will delay the shipments of removal orders from their warehouses. As a result, they are waiving long-term storage fees that would be charged on April 15th. “To ensure the capacity to receive, restock, and ship high-priority products like household staples and medical supplies, we have temporarily paused removal operations in some of our fulfillment centers. You can continue to create removal orders, but there will be delays in completing the requests. Similarly, auto-removals will be delayed. As a result, we are waiving the April 15 long-term storage fees for inventory stored in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Poland, and the Czech Republic. See the full announcement on Seller Central…

Amazon and Flipkart suspend all services in India amid lockdown confusion: The Financial Times reports that India’s biggest ecommerce businesses Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart were forced to suspend all services in the country on Wednesday, amid mass confusion over the details of its strict 21-day coronavirus lockdown. In a dramatic Tuesday night television announcement, Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered all of India’s 1.37bn people not to move out of their homes for the next three weeks, sending ripples of anxiety through India’s urban middle class about the operation of the supply chains that sustain them. “Things are almost completely at a standstill,” said an executive at one ecommerce company, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the situation. “We have a lot of pending orders and a lot of deliveries stuck in various parts of the supply chain, from leaving the warehouse to reaching our customers.” Continue reading…

Amazon suspends almost 4,000 seller accounts over price gouging: Bloomberg reports that Amazon has announced it has suspended thousands of seller accounts for price gouging during the coronavirus pandemic. The operator of the largest U.S. online marketplace said it has pulled well over half a million offers and suspended more than 3,900 selling accounts in the U.S. for violating its fair pricing policies. Amazon said it deployed a dedicated team to identify and investigate “unfairly priced” products that are in high demand, such as protective masks and hand sanitizer. “We are also proactively sharing information with state attorneys general and federal regulators about sellers we suspect have engaged in egregious price gouging of products related to the COVID-19 crisis,” the company said in a statement Monday. Continue reading…

Amazon Prime delivery delays are now as long as a month: Recode reports that Amazon customers posted on social media platforms saying certain nonessential items were showing April 21 delivery dates even though they were listed as in-stock and shipping with Amazon’s Prime. During normal times, Amazon Prime deliveries typically arrive in one or two days. Now, some Prime deliveries for in-stock items are showing five-day delivery promises on the lower end, but those waits are as long as a month on some items. An Amazon spokesperson confirmed that the new April 21 delivery dates are not the result of a technical bug and they accurately reflect Amazon’s current reality. Continue reading…

Read the letter Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos just sent to employees about the coronavirus: Business Insider reports that in a memo to all staff, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos outlined the steps the retail giant is taking to keep essential personnel safe and encouraged those who have been laid off during the pandemic to consider working for the online retail giant. Bezos shared the letter to employees on his personal Instagram profile on Saturday. Continue reading…

March 16-22

Amazon sellers brace for layoffs and worse after coronavirus-related products get priority: Annie Palmer at CNBC reports that Amazon sellers are worried their businesses will be hit hard by the company’s decision to prioritize shipments of household products and medical supplies at its warehouses. Some sellers who sell products not related to the coronavirus told CNBC the decision forced them to cut costs and furlough employees, while others are bracing for potential layoffs. Third-party merchants have already been hit hard by the coronavirus, as many factories in China remain offline. Continue reading…

Amazon’s first coronavirus case in a US warehouse could complicate shipping: Ben Fox Robin at CNET reports that Amazon has reported its first confirmed COVID-19 case in its US warehouses, a network of facilities that has quickly turned into a critical need for millions of customers as they stay at home during the coronavirus crisis. The worker was stationed at a site in a Queens, New York, a company spokesperson said in a statement Thursday morning. The location is a delivery station, which is much smaller than one of Amazon’s sprawling fulfillment centers. The site temporarily shut down for additional cleaning, and workers there were sent home with full pay, according to the spokesperson. Continue reading…

Amazon Prime Pantry temporarily closes as online shopping surges amid coronavirus outbreak: Annie Palmer at CNBC reports that Amazon has temporarily closed its Prime Pantry delivery service as it faces a surge in orders tied to the coronavirus outbreak. A notice at the top of the Prime Pantry website Thursday read: “Pantry is temporarily closed. We are busy restocking.” The service gives Prime subscribers access to discounted grocery and household items, which they can then have delivered to their door. Amazon said the closure was due to “high order volumes” and pointed to other areas of its site that offer similar items. Continue reading…

Amazon sellers “hijack” listings to sell face masks despite new rules: Wired reports that 50 disposable masks were the 148th most popular book on Amazon on Wednesday. The box of masks had risen in sales rank from 19,662 to 148 in just one day, according to Amazon’s list of “Movers & Shakers,” or goods that have surged in popularity in a given category in the past 24 hours. A similar scenario played out the next day: The number two Mover & Shaker in the videogames category Thursday morning, beating out The Sims 4 and a gaming headset, was a package of 50 disposable face masks. Both of these product listings for masks appear to violate Amazon’s rules. Continue reading…

Related: Coronavirus: How to Avoid Price Gouging on Amazon

March 9-15

Amazon restricts sales of face masks and hand sanitizer due to coronavirus price gouging: Nick Statt at The Verge reports that Amazon has begun restricting the types of sellers on its third-party Marketplace platform that can sell health and sanitation products like face masks, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes and sprays, and isopropyl alcohol, among other products. The decision, revealed in a note sent to sellers on Wednesday and reviewed by The Verge, is a notable escalation in Amazon’s fight against price gouging and deceptive marketing on its ecommerce platform due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. Continue reading…

Coronavirus: Amazon offers unlimited sick days to halt spread: Jane Wakefield at BBC News reports that Amazon workers can take unlimited sick days this month – but only those in quarantine for the Covid-19 virus will be entitled to extra sick pay. Many US warehouse workers are entitled to only 10 days’ leave a year – for all holidays, sickness and emergencies. And some had asked Amazon to change its policy to stop coronavirus spreading. Continue reading…

Amazon to sell its automated checkout technology to third-party retailers: Amazon is set to announce a new business line selling the technology behind its cashierless convenience stores to other retailers, the company told Reuters. The world’s biggest web retailer said it has “several” signed deals with customers it would not name. Today, a new website will invite others to inquire about the service, dubbed Just Walk Out technology by Amazon. Continue reading…

Amazon creates $5M relief fund to aid small businesses in Seattle impacted by coronavirus outbreak: Sarah Perez at TechCrunch reports that Amazon, along with many other tech companies, said it would continue to pay its hourly employees as its work from home policies were in effect. It also said it was subsidizing rent for businesses inside the buildings it owns. Today, Amazon announced it’s creating a $5 million Neighborhood Small Relief Fund to provide cash grants to local small businesses in need during the novel coronavirus outbreak, as well. Continue reading…

March 1-8

Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook advise employees to work from home: Hallie Golden at The Guardian reports that as the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread across Washington state, Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook have advised their Seattle-area employees to work from home for the next few weeks. The announcements were made following guidance that instructed workplaces to take steps to allow employees to work remotely. A statement from health officials read: “Taking these measures can help reduce the number of workers who come into contact with Covid-19 and help minimize absenteeism due to illness.” Continue reading…

Why Amazon can’t stop coronavirus price gougers: Jason Del Rey at Recode reports that Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) wrote in a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on Wednesday stating, “No one should be allowed to reap a windfall from fear and human suffering Internet-based retailers such as Amazon.com have a particular responsibility to guard against price gouging in current circumstances as consumers — who are finding the shelves of local brick-and-mortar stores bare, and who may wish to avoid venturing into crowded stores and shopping malls — turn to the internet.” The price for a two-pack of Purell hand sanitizer was as high as $350 on the first page on Amazon’s search results. Continue reading…

Related: Amazon Takes Action Against False Coronavirus Claims

Amazon Prime Now and other delivery services hit with delays as online shopping surges amid coronavirus outbreak: Annie Palmer at CNBC reports that Same-day and next-day delivery services offered by the likes of Amazon, Instacart and Walmart are experiencing delays in some areas of the country as shoppers stock up on items in light of the coronavirus outbreak. Amazon Prime Now and Instacart shoppers say the normally speedy services have limited delivery availability or inform users that they won’t be able to place an order until the following day. Walmart’s next-day delivery service also appeared to have limited delivery availability. Continue reading…

Amazon’s Ring logs every doorbell press and app action: Leo Kelion at BBC News reports that Amazon keeps records of every motion detected by its Ring doorbells, as well as the exact time they are logged down to the millisecond. The details were revealed via a data request submitted by the BBC. It also disclosed that every interaction with Ring’s app is also stored, including the model of phone or tablet and mobile network used. One expert said it gave Amazon the potential for an even broader insight into its customers’ lives. Continue reading…

2020 Amazon fee adjustments start to take effect: Chris Dawson at Tamebay reports that Amazon has emailed merchants to remind them of Amazon fee adjustments, most of which come into effect on the 1 April, but some are now live. Particularly worth noting is the Amazon fee adjustments for Clothing, Shoes and Bags which started on the 1 March and runs for a full year offering savings on fees. Continue reading…

Bonus: 3 Dynamic Pricing Tips for Amazon Sellers

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