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Amazon supply chain falters with Amazon Pantry closed

By Chris Dawson March 20, 2020 - 10:50 am

Amazon, as are most companies, are scrambling to deal with the enormous demands placed on their operations by the Coronavirus. Perhaps surprisingly for the biggest online retailer in the Western world, the cracks are starting to appear in the Amazon supply chain and service is failing both retailer and consumers just at the moment that they need Amazon the most.

The first thing that happened to the Amazon supply chain was suspending all inbound shipments to FBA warehouse barring 6 categories for essential goods. It’s hard to argue that a need products like a new pair of trainers or TV when they’re desperate to buy baby milk and nappies, but for merchants it’s a potential disaster. Banning inbound shipments for three weeks effectively means that once stock currently in FBA sells out it will be almost a month before stocks can be replenished. This cuts off merchants income just at the time they face the worst health crisis in a century. While the government are scrambling to convince businesses not to lay off staff, if income streams for marketplace sellers slow too much or stop then laying off staff is exactly what will happen.

The second thing that we’re seeing is a major hole in the Amazon supply chain for Amazon Pantry. In the US, Amazon Pantry is temporarily closed. Amazon say that due to high order volumes, Pantry is not accepting new orders at this time. This means that items listed as “Ships & Sold from Pantry” cannot be added to your cart. Amazon apologize and say that they are working with partners to get these items back in stock as quickly as possible.

In the UK, Amazon Pantry is still open but the virtual shelves are bare. This is because Amazon don’t actually hold many products in stock themselves but rely on their partnership with Morrisons to supply Amazon Pantry inventory. With Morrisons, and all UK Supermarkets, have had the shelves in their stores emptied by hordes of selfish shoppers, they simply can’t replenish their store stock fast enough and supplying Amazon Pantry is probably way down on their list of priorities.

Amazon are recruiting 100,000 staff to help get their operations moving, but the reality is that no matter how many staff they take on merchants income has been put on hold for a month and consumers still can’t buy essential food. In normal circumstances Amazon often appears an unstoppable sales machine but just when merchants and consumers need them the most the weaknesses of Amazon have been exposed.

If you are one of the merchants who can’t ship into Amazon FBA at the moment, read our advice post of potential ways to keep your business running.

  • Hopefully many communities still have local butchers, farmers, green grocer, farmer markets, farm shops etc who they can ring and have produce reserved/delivered. In our local town many independents are rallying together offering free local delivery as it is the smaller shops which are not being ransacked by selfish shoppers.

    I suspect online cooking classes will become popular as more of us start actually cooking and baking with raw ingredients.

  • SAM
    6 months ago

    I was out on a run this morning and it did not seem as manic as over the last week “some truly awful scenes”. Some of shelves when I got back were pretty empty again however.

    Am afraid their has been forward planning as far as I can see, never mind upscaling. All being left to last minute, using we are following Government “confused” advice as a cop out.
    Anyway their are people out their who need food who cannot get it.

    Hopefully the hoarders are all sitting in their trolley loads of loo roll and pasta having a nice long hard look at themselves.

  • Sean D
    6 months ago

    Must be localised as its open here in SW London

  • peter king
    6 months ago

    Open here too

  • raks
    6 months ago

    difficult as I’ve walked to a bunch of supermarkets and express stores, some empty some now, those that re not, hours later they are stripped bare. First Wave of panic buyers have created a second wave

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