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Amazon limits third-party fulfilment service to essential items amidst coronavirus online surge

Amazon has told Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) users that the service will now be limited to essential items due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Those third-party sellers on the online marketplace which use Amazon’s shipping service to deliver goods will no longer be able to send them to Amazon’s fulfilment centres unless they fit into six categories deemed essential.

These categories are baby products, health & household, beauty & personal care, grocery, industrial & scientific and pet supplies. Amazon said inaccurately categorising products could result in account suspension.

Implicitly no longer supported are entertainment products such as books, films, music, sports, games as well as fashion.

The measures will last until 5 April 2020 at the earliest, with shipments that had been created before the announcement going ahead as normal.

Amazon said the new rules were designed to prioritise these essential items so that Amazon can “more quickly receive, restock, and deliver these products to customers.” The company reported seeing increased demand during the outbreak, although it did not specify how many additional orders it was seeing.

A spokesperson said in an emailed statement: “We understand this is a change for our selling partners and appreciate their understanding as we temporarily prioritise these products for customers.”

Amazon announced on Monday that it is planning to hire 100,000 additional workers to support the increased demand during the pandemic.

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