Yesterday, March 17, 2020, Amazon announced that it was suspending the receiving and shipping of non-essential items to and from its warehouses. This is due to its need to focus on "in-demand products", i.e., household staples and medical supplies. Here is their statement:
We are closely monitoring the developments of COVID-19 and its impact on our customers, selling partners, and employees.
We are seeing increased online shopping, and as a result some products such as household staples and medical supplies are out of stock. With this in mind, we are temporarily prioritizing household staples, medical supplies, and other high-demand products coming into our fulfillment centers so that we can more quickly receive, restock, and deliver these products to customers.
For products other than these, we have temporarily disabled shipment creation. We are taking a similar approach with retail vendors.
This will be in effect today through April 5, 2020, and we will let you know once we resume regular operations. Shipments created before today will be received at fulfillment centers.
You can learn more about this on this Help page. Please note that Selling Partner Support does not have further guidance.
We understand this is a change to your business, and we did not take this decision lightly. We are working around the clock to increase capacity, and yesterday announced that we are opening 100,000 new full- and part-time positions in our fulfillment centers across the US.
We appreciate your understanding as we prioritize the above products for our customers.
Thank you for your patience, and for participating in FBA.
Amazon perceives toys as a non-essential product. Although that may sound right in a time of crisis, toys, games, and puzzles are an emotional lifesaver for families confined to their homes. A simple puzzle can bond a family as they work together to complete a picture. A game can bring a family around the table to enjoy engaging each other by playing a game. Toys can educate and distract, amuse, and provide focus.
I am receiving reports that puzzles and tabletop games are in high demand. Amazon's decision could, therefore, be an excellent opportunity for smaller e-commerce platforms, and everyone is smaller than Amazon.
Here is what I think:
- If you are a toy company, which has its own eCommerce site, ramp up your online advertising.
- If you are a third-party eCommerce provider, this is the time to push toys and win new consumers.
- And, yes, if you are a toy store it's your time to remind the neighbors that you have what they want.
At times of disruption like now, old shopping patterns can be broken and new ones acquired. This is a time of opportunity. Take advantage of it.