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Amazon Lifts FBA Shipping Ban on Nonessential Items
Signaling easing pressure on its burdened supply chain, Amazon announced on April 13 that it will begin allowing third-party merchants to ship nonessential inventory to its FBA warehouses as early as this week, according to recent reports.
While there will no longer be restrictions on certain product categories, Amazon told Business Insider that it will enforce limits to how many products per item sellers can ship into its warehouses so the company can continue prioritizing fulfillment of essential products.
The move comes nearly one month after the company restricted inbound FBA inventory shipments due to overwhelming demand for fast shipping on items in categories which Amazon deemed as “essential,” including: Baby Products; Health and Household; Grocery; Beauty and Personal Care; Industrial and Scientific; and Pet Supplies.
The restriction was initially slated to lift on April 5, but due to continued COVID-19 demand on Amazon’s marketplace, the company later extended the restriction indefinitely, albeit loosening its definition of essential items.
Indeed, the drastic rise in demand on Amazon’s marketplace has caused unprecedented challenges for sellers and brands operating on the platform, from delivery delays to inventory stockouts and more.
With the FBA inventory restriction now lifted, sellers and brands should focus on optimizing their supply chain strategy to secure their inventory position for the months ahead, especially as Prime Day approaches.
Do you have excess inventory of nonessential items that you could not sell over the last month? Do you need to partner with a new supplier to produce inventory for the critical Q3 and Q4 months? Consider which products you can leverage for Prime-exclusive deals or seasonal discounts to alleviate your excess inventory while stimulating your sales velocity as strains on delivery continue to ease.
Furthermore, to expand its fulfillment capabilities, Amazon hired 100,000 new warehouse and delivery workers over the past month and on April 13 announced that it will hire an additional 75,000 employees across its operations network.
Yet, even with the additions to its workforce, delivery windows will likely continue to see delays beyond the Prime promise of two-day shipping, particularly within the grocery space. Amazon is asking customers that are new to Amazon Fresh and delivery from Whole Foods Market to sign up for an invitation to use online grocery delivery and pickup. The company said it is continuously increasing its capacity for grocery delivery and will invite new customers to shop each week.