Amazon pauses non-essential warehouse shipments, prioritizes 'household staples, medical supplies'

Shift to meet coronavirus demand surge impacts sellers, vendors

Amazon warehouse distribution center
Amazon warehouse distribution center
(Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images)
Last Updated:
March 17, 2020 - 3:26pm

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Amazon is suspending shipments of all non-essential products to its warehouses, the giant online retailer announced Tuesday.

Amazon will prioritize "household staples, medical supplies, and other high-demand products" until April 5, it explained in an email to sellers and vendors.

For the moment, this does not impact shipments between warehouses and and consumers, rather the relationship between vendors and Amazon warehouses.

It will primarily affect sellers who take advantage of a program called Fulfillment by Amazon, which allows them to use Amazon’s warehouse storage and delivery network. Vendors who wholesale their products to Amazon will also be impacted.

“We are seeing increased online shopping, and as a result some products such as household staples and medical supplies are out of stock,” read the memo.

Other prioritized categories will include baby products, beauty and personal care, groceries, industrial and scientific supplies, and pet supplies.

Amazon also announced on Monday that it was hiring 100,000 employees for warehouses and delivery networks, to help meet the increased demand from the site.

Amazon has seen enormous surges in orders of household items like toilet paper, hand soap, and sanitizer, which were out of stock on the website this past weekend.


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