Amazon's move to temporarily block shipments to its warehouses in the US and Europe of all non-essential items prioritising fulfillment of essentials ahead of all other products because of the Covid-19 pandemic is not just necessary it's the right thing to do.
Amazon is enabling itself to stay on top of delivery SLAs for the items that matter during this time. At the same time they are protecting against overcrowding in their warehouses as they choose to prioritise essential purchases regardless of intent and demand in other areas.
However at a time when sellers need them most Amazon won't be there for them. The impact of this will be far-reaching for many brands that rely on Amazon for fulfillment. Brands that are selling products via the online retailer which do not fall under the essential category but are still in high demand will suffer greatly.
Splitting fulfillment between a retailer led strategy like the fulfillment service that Amazon offers and a self fulfillment strategy is obviously one way to insulate against mitigating external factors. However many third party sellers on the Amazon platform are simply not equipped to deal with their own fulfillment. Until now this hasn't even been a consideration for many brands. This move by Amazon has only served to demonstrate how brands need to be continuously agile with their selling strategies.
Sri Ganesh Santhiram is leading Global Digital Marketing at Victorinox AG and he gave his thoughts on the needs for brands to be agile in the face of circumstances such as this that we find ourselves in:
"Overall I believe the current changes imposed by Amazon further highlight the need for brands to have a clear Hybrid structure (1P & 3P) in order to mitigate such factors. In the event of 3P having the right partners (i.e: 3PLs who can fulfill / are Prime accredited) will go a long way in maintaining success. Discretionary spending will clearly take a hit at the moment but in our case we're looking at cutlery as a category where people will start looking at home comforts and we need to be ready for that. Amazon remains a crucial cog in our set up and the ability to pivot between the 1P / 3P set up is crucial. In addition to that having a clear idea of who our key online retailers are that can offer the levels of services we're striving for further helping to reduce the reliance on Amazon".Sri Ganesh Santhiram Global Digital Marketing Victorinox AG
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