Amazon has adjusted its processes to prioritize stocking and delivering key data-x-items during the coronavirus pandemic, leading to later expected delivery dates for some other products, per Recode.
This has affected regular orders and those made with Prime, which are generally delivered within one to two days — now, some Amazon orders might not be delivered until late April.
Amazon has made even stronger adjustments in France and Italy: It's temporarily not taking orders for some nonessential data-x-items altogether in the two markets, Reuters reports. This move only impacts orders that are fulfilled by Amazon, so consumers can still order nonessential products from third-party sellers on its marketplace that handle fulfillment on their own.
The e-tailer is seemingly focusing its operations on delivering certain product categories, as it recently stopped taking shipments of nonessential products from suppliers at its warehouses. The company informed sellers that it's prioritizing products in the following categories: baby products, beauty and personal care, grocery, health and household, industrial and scientific, and pet supplies.
Amazon is likely using similar guidelines to determine which consumer orders to prioritize in an effort to meet demand as the need for these essential products increases as consumers avoid going to stores and retailers close down temporarily.
Prioritizing essential products may help consumers get the data-x-items they need most and enable Amazon to meet demand, but doing so could also hurt Amazon's business in a few ways.
Prime subscribers may be frustrated with slow delivery speeds and cancel subscriptions. Some Prime subscribers, who pay $119 a year in the US, may end their subscriptions since they won't have access to the same fast shipping speeds they usually receive — especially since e-commerce delivery is extremely important now that many stores are closing. Prime does offer other values, like Prime Video, that could give them pause, though.
Losing Prime subscribers could damage Amazon's sales because subscribers are estimated to spend more than nonsubscribers, on average. Amazon may be able to win some of these subscribers back once delivery speeds return to normal, but it's possible some subscribers won't be interested in returning to the program.
Third-party merchants that sell nonessential goods on Amazon may join other marketplaces or go out of business, limiting the appeal of Amazon's product selection. Forty-two percent of the over 1,000 US brands surveyed by Feedvisor reported that more than half of their e-commerce sales come from Amazon, highlighting that many merchants rely heavily on Amazon to make sales. But some of these brands may be losing the ability to make shipments to Amazon's warehouses because their products are nonessential.
Losing Amazon as a sales channel could push them to join other marketplaces, like eBay and Walmart, if these retailers don't restrict their shipments because, otherwise, they may not bring in enough revenue to operate. And if more merchants begin to sell on competing platforms, and some sellers go out of business, Amazon's massive third-party sales business could take a hit.
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