The coronavirus outbreak is causing almost all companies worldwide to shut down offices and send workers home through layoffs, furloughs, and pay cuts or force employees to telework until the virus is contained.
The rising fear of the rapid spread of coronavirus has impacted the global economy and slowed corporate profits. Many Amazon sellers are struggling and facing sales drops, delayed shipping, staff, and inventory shortage.
To minimize the damage the virus may inflict on your Amazon business and maintain a smooth operation, here are some tips and solutions that could help you:
Global shipping and supply chain hit by the coronavirus
Shipping in China was initially delayed in late January because most factories and businesses were closed during the Chinese New Year. Following the coronavirus outbreak in February, the shutdowns of businesses and factories were further extended.
China, being the world’s largest supplier, has already impacted businesses around the world with their cities on lockdown. Many Amazon sellers are experiencing product shortages due to idled factories in China and canceled freight flights from the country.
If your business operation is impacted, you can take these precautions recommended by Amazon to prevent your seller account suspended. If you are not able to fulfill orders, you can take the following actions:
- Order cancellations
- Listing status for vacations, holidays, and other absences
- Update your listings from the Manage Inventory page
- Respond to the performance notification and explain with a brief description if your performance metrics have been impacted by the event. Amazon will consider this unforeseen event when evaluating your account’s recent performance.
You can also find more information about account management on relevant Help pages in Seller Central.
Price gouging in full swing on Amazon
Certain products such as face masks, hand sanitizers, disinfecting wipes and sprays, and isopropyl alcohol, among other health products are in high demand across the world. Due to the rapid spread of the COVID-19 outbreak, many countries temporarily ban the export of face masks to ensure domestic supply. Some sellers have taken advantage of consumer’s fears to make excessive profits by raising prices for high-demand items like face masks and hand sanitizer.
The risk of being suspended by Amazon for unfair pricing is significantly high for sellers. Amazon has removed hundreds of thousands of listings and suspended thousands of sellers’ accounts for price gouging related to the coronavirus. Sellers could also face prosecution if they exploit the coronavirus scare to hike prices. Amazon will not tolerate any attempts by bad actors to artificially raise prices on basic need products during a global health crisis.
Amazon bans more than 1 million fake coronavirus products
Amazon has banned over 1 Million third-party sellers’ products listed or advertised as cures or preventative measures to protect against the coronavirus. These products have not been tested and medically proven to support their claims. Many unscrupulous sellers have been profiting off the COVID-19 crisis simply by adding specific keywords such as “coronavirus face mask” or “n95 face mask” to their listing titles and description to increase traffic in order to push their products to the top of search rankings. The fact is that these products are not certified to kill the strain of coronavirus.
[Updated] Amazon temporarily limiting shipment to warehouses due to COVID-19
Amazon has announced to prioritze household staples, medical supplies, and other product categories in response to a surge in demand from the coronavirus outbreak. The change went into effect on March 17 and expected to last until April 5. Third-party sellers on Amazon who sell products not related to coronavirus demand may start seeing delays when they try to send their items to an Amazon warehouse. Amazon will continue to ship out merchants’ existing inventory in its warehouses, as well as any shipments created before March 17. You can learn more about this action on this Help page.
Create a stressful experiment in working from home
To minimize coronavirus spread, sellers may ask employees to work from home or decide to temporarily hire virtual assistants to replace office-based employees to reduce loss during this difficult time.
However, an employee that’s not in the office is much more difficult to manage. Managing a team remotely requires a leader to establish clear goals, communicate clearly, have transparent performance tracking, and collaborate internally as a team regardless of where each team member is located.
If you want to establish an effective line of communication with your remote employees, you need a ready-to-go suite of tools like BigCentral to improve your remote workers’ time management and productivity.
As Amazon being a customer-centric company, this software can display customer service metrics to help you not only monitor remote employees’ performance but also build a strong relationship with your customers. Consequently, your employees will feel supported and valued so that they could perform better and improve customer experience. Your business will grow as a result.