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How Is Amazon Dealing with the Coronavirus Crisis?

As the Coronavirus crisis keeps us all at home, there is increasing demand for Amazon deliveries of food, medicine and household essentials. 

According to the Wall Street Journal, Amazon has been dealing with 10%-40% more packages than normal for this time of year. 639,330,722 people visited Amazon’s site over the week of the 9th of March. That’s up 32% from 2019 (Comscore).

Data from CommerceIQ clearly show the surge in demand that’s hit Amazon square on:

  • Cough and cold medicine up 862% (forecast rate 110%)
  • Children’s medicine up 287% (forecast rate 49%)
  • Toilet paper up 186% (forecast rate 7%)

So, how is the eCommerce giant dealing with the effects of COVID-19?

Job creation

On the 28th March, the company announced 100,000 new roles to help meet increasing demand. This employment also aims to support those who’ve lost their income due to COVID-19. For example, Lyft drivers who’ve lost their ride-hailing income have been actively encouraged to apply for jobs in Amazon fulfillment centres.

Safeguarding employee health and safety during the Coronavirus crisis

By looking after its employees’ health, Amazon is also protecting its customers’ health. This is highly important during the Coronavirus crisis.

Responding to concerns about staff health during the Coronavirus outbreak, Amazon’s ensuring that all employees have access to hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes.

The company recently began temperature checking its employees as they arrive for their shifts. This ensures that no one running a fever is allowed on site.

According to a statement from Dave Clark, SVP of Amazon Worldwide Operations, Amazon is already carrying out these checks on over 100,000 staff members a day. It plans to roll them out across the entire US and Europe network by early this week.

Supporting frontline health workers

Any deliveries of N-95 masks that Amazon receives will be donated straight to frontline health workers. Or, they’ll be sold to governmental or health organizations via Amazon Business.

Paid sick leave for employees

Amazon invested an initial $350 million for additional pay. However, it expects to increase that amount to support its network of employees and partners throughout the Coronavirus crisis.

Employees diagnosed with Coronavirus will be given paid time off, as well as staff who are feeling unwell but can’t get tested for the virus. Amazon is also contacting employees who’ve come into contact with staff who’ve tested positive. They’ll be offered 14 days paid leave to stay at home and curb the spread of the virus.

Prioritizing key product categories to weather the Coronavirus crisis

Amazon is prioritizing “household staples, medical supplies, and other high-demand products” to ship these out to customers as efficiently as possible.

Amazon has also temporarily suspended new inbound shipments of non-essential products for FBA members and Amazon’s B2B platform. This will free up space to process vital items during the Coronavirus crisis.

As a result, 3rd party sellers and 1st party vendors are unable to ship new stock in categories such as consumer electronics, travel accessories or office products. However, they can still sell existing stock in FBA warehouses.

Price control on in-demand products

Amazon’s staying true to its official line, that “there is no place for price gouging on Amazon.” The site has deleted multiple gougers in an attempt to keep vital supplies – such as hand sanitizer – at affordable prices.

International collaboration to tackle the Coronavirus crisis 

Amazon Web Services are providing infrastructure and technology to support the UK’s National Health Service. Through collating vital national data on COVID-19, this will allow optimized resource allocation.

The Coronavirus crisis will have a stark effect on the global retail landscape. Even as a sector giant, Amazon won’t escape its effects. But, the company’s COVID-19 strategy will likely enable it to effectively withstand the intense demand it’ll face over the coming months.