While you may have already heard the news, we wanted to talk about Amazon’s recent announcement to limit shipping and stop order fulfillment for some companies. In mid-March 2020, due to pressures from COVID-19 and the related rise in online shopping due to store closures, Amazon made the decision that it would suspend shipments of all “nonessential” products to its warehouses, to focus more effort on shipments related to the coronavirus pandemic.

This is troubling news for businesses that don’t deal with medical supplies, household staples, and similar related products – especially those with leaner systems that don’t have a lot of goods already stored in Amazon’s warehouses. Amazon is a core pillar for e-commerce, and it’s understandable that companies relying on their Amazon stores may not know what to do right now.

During these times, Sherpack remains your reliable West Michigan fulfillment center, and we wanted to let you know that we’re standing by to help. Here are the details for common questions you may have about the current state of shipping.

What Type of Shipments Does This New Amazon Decision Affect, Exactly?

Amazon is specifically blocking shipments of nonessential products to its warehouses. Products already stored with Amazon can continue to be shipped. That means the change primarily affects Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) companies that have a shipping relationship with Amazon itself. FBA contracts are known for being expensive and require rigorous packaging qualifications, but can be a selling bonus for some companies. The drawback, as seen in this situation, is that Amazon retains a lot of control over requirements for packaging, branding, and so on. 

What Products Does This Block?

While Amazon hasn’t defined exactly what it means by “household staples,” but it’s likely referring to important consumables like diapers and, yes, toilet paper – many AmazonBasics brand products, in other words. Medical products seem to include facial masks and disposable products that patients or facilities order at regular intervals. Other products are left to Amazon’s discretion base on their demand levels. If you have products outside these categories, you may find that your business is no longer able to create shipment orders.

How Long Will This Block on Shipments Last?

Amazon has stated that the block sending shipments to its warehouses will last until April 5, 2020. However, Amazon’s future decisions will depend on conditions at that time. As COVID-19 cases continue to increase, it’s possible that Amazon will decide to extend its block for a longer period of time. Amazon also announced plans to increase capacity and make new hires to help keep up with demand, so this could also have an impact. At this time, it’s a “wait and see” situation.  

What About the Businesses that Use Self-Fulfillment on Amazon?

Businesses that fulfill their own orders aren’t affected by this Amazon decision, but they may face challenges of their own. In-house fulfillment during these times can help save money and solve issues with distribution, but it requires experience and a hard-working team for that to happen. Current conditions have also led to many workers unable to come into their jobs or help with such a transition. That means self-fulfilling companies may find they lack the manpower to manage their current shipment needs.

Does Sherpack Offer Fulfillment Alternatives for Amazon Businesses?

Sherpack will be glad to help Amazon businesses switch to a third-party fulfillment option to help find your business a new shipping solution for these times. We offer a variety of fulfillment services for all types of growing businesses, and are happy to work with your preferred online system for easy e-commerce orders. We also support customization and various kit options for businesses with more specific, order-by-order needs.

We also know what it’s like to be a growing business in a fast-moving market. Sherpack was recently listed as one of the most successful companies in the Midwest by Inc. Magazine. Our years of hard work as a West Michigan fulfillment center, helping out new or changing industries, makes us a great fit for these current times – and your future shipping needs!

My Business Hasn’t Used Fulfillment Services Outside of Amazon. Are Your Services Similar?

Similar in some ways, and different in others. For example, we don’t have the same packaging restrictions that Amazon has, so Sherpack is able to provide the best packaging options based on your products, including custom packaging, or packaging that meets specific industry/country guidelines depending on your needs. We also offer easy return management!

I Used Amazon Because of Reliable Storage Options. Can You Match Their Storage Quality?

Sherpack offers highly secured storage in warehouses that are fully climate controlled and suitable for food-grade products. Contact us to ask more specific questions about optimizing storage for your company.

I Don’t Use Amazon, But My Business is Still Struggling Right Now. Can You Help?

Of course! Whether you’re putting a new focus on online orders in these changing times, or find your company without the resources to fulfill your current orders, Sherpack will be happy to work with you and find the right solution. To help make the transition easier, Sherpack is offering all new clients free storage for three months! Contact us for more information, and we will set you up with your own representative to work out what type of fulfillment services will work best for your situation so you can get an accurate quote.

My Business Also Has a Retail Side. Is that Something Sherpack Can Help Us With?

Yes, Sherpack offers retail fulfillment services if your products need to end up in inventory and on shelves at retail locations. Contact us and discuss the details so we can set up a retail fulfillment plan that works best for your products.

Is Sherpack Ready to Take on New Shipping Orders Right Now?

Absolutely. In addition to our three-month free storage deal, we are fully staffed and have warehouse space waiting new shipments.

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