Amazon is prioritizing stocking medical supplies and household staples at its warehouses

Amazon has announced that it’s prioritizing stocking high-demand products like medical supplies and “household staples” in its fulfillment centers due to increased demand from customers, per a report from The Wall Street Journal. Demand for these essential products has gone up as people are staying home and avoiding physical retail locations as they self-quarantine to prevent spreading the novel coronavirus.

“We are temporarily prioritizing household staples, medical supplies and other high-demand products coming into our fulfillment centers so we can more quickly receive, restock, and ship these products to customers,” an Amazon spokesperson told the WSJ.

As a consequence of that decision, though, Amazon will be limiting independent sellers from sending any products that don’t match those categories to Amazon warehouses until April 5th. Sellers will be able to continue relying on Amazon to sell and ship any inventory that’s currently at fulfillment centers. But once that runs out, they won’t be able to rely on Amazon to store their goods, restock inventory, or fulfill orders.

Sellers will still have the option to sell goods on Amazon without using the fulfillment centers, provided that they handle the storage of their products and shipping without using Amazon’s services, but many small businesses likely lack the physical space or logistics chain to actually manage that on their own.

Any items currently en route to Amazon’s fulfillment centers will still be accepted, and the existing stocks already at the warehouses mean that shortages might not be apparent immediately. But for retailers that rely on Amazon to store and ship their goods, it’ll only be a matter of time before supply starts to run out.

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