What does the Coronavirus mean for Amazon Sellers?
As the coronavirus grows into an official global public health emergency, its impact on the world of Amazon is becoming more apparent.
Could Amazon run out of products?
That is happening on several fronts. The emergency is threatening the Amazon Sellers that rely on Chinese production, with the virus procedures in the Far East limiting factory output in several areas.
It has also seen remarkable sales spikes in protective face masks and hazmat suits, which in turn have led to items selling out worldwide. Amazon ran out of stock of its best-selling hazardous material (otherwise known as hazmat) suit on February 5. As the fear of the coronavirus spreads, this is the first time time Amazon ran out of stock for this product since the summer of 2018, during the Ebola outbreak. Buyers can now only purchase from third-party sellers, who are already hiking the prices amid a threat of further stock shortages.
Once Amazon’s own stock ran out, the listing’s average price increased by 13% - from $9.68 to $11.08, and has jumped as high as $23.37 according to a report on Jungle Scout (https://www.junglescout.com/blog/coronavirus/). The same article reports that Amazon searches for medical masks and respirators are up 17,000%, with mask sales near a remarkable 24 million and their price also now rising.
Business Insider featured the mask price hike, as well as the fact that businesses are now expanding their product lines to include the protective face masks at https://www.businessinsider.com/wuhan-coronavirus-mask-shortage-causing-price-increase-2020-1?r=US&IR=T.
But while some Amazon businesses are cashing in on the current crisis, others are seeing their businesses crippled by the coronavirus outbreak, because their production sources are being badly affected by the situation.
Leading news agency Reuters featured a number of case studies on businesses that have been badly affected, or who are about the be. It is estimated that over a million Amazon sellers’ livelihoods depend on factory workers in China, the source of the outbreak. If the fast-moving epidemic results in worker shortages or prolonged factory closures then their businesses are in grave danger.
Thompson and Holt’s Craig Gedey says the situation is a developing and unique one for Amazon Sellers where being as fully informed as possible is crucial.
What are the long term impacts of the corona virus on Amazon sellers?
Gedey said: “This is a scenario that most Amazon Sellers who are potentially affected will be completely unfamiliar with. Although there have been outbreaks before, such as Ebola, which led to a rise in sales and resulting shortage in protective clothing, the fact that coronavirus has emerged in China makes it an entirely different proposition.
“China is such a crucial part of the world of Amazon that businesses are liable to be seriously affected if production of their product is manufactured there. If this is the case, keep in as close contact as is possible with your supplier and what their current situation is regarding production at their factories.
“It is likely to be a developing situation daily, and although there’s nothing you can do to change what’s happening in China, being forewarned is forearmed to an extent. We know of Sellers that are looking towards factories in Mexico, South American, India, Pakistan and Vietnam as a means of keeping their businesses alive.
“Gather as much information as possible and keep contact as regular as you can, while looking at alternative sources for products. The reality is that nobody fully knows what will happen next with coronavirus and you need to be adaptable and able to move as quickly as possible when the situation develops.”
If you have found yourself suspended while selling on Amazon, contact Thompson and Holt for a free LiveChat to get your Suspended Amazon Seller Account back online as quickly as possible.