How to Fulfill Orders: Amazon Suspends Some FBA Support During the COVID-19 Pandemic

by
March 18, 2020

In order to fulfill the growing volume of higher demand items in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, Amazon has announced that they have suspended inbound deliveries of FBA items that DO NOT fall into the following departments. This is currently in effect until April 5th, 2020: 

  • Baby Products
  • Health & Household
  • Beauty & Personal Care (including personal care appliances)
  • Grocery
  • Industrial & Scientific
  • Pet Supplies

What about Existing Shipments?

While orders placed between March 17th–April 5th, 2020 are impacted, shipments created before March 17th, 2020 will still be fulfilled as normal. This only applies to FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon) orders placed after the announcement by Amazon. 

What Alternatives Do I Have?

1. Switch From FBA to Fulfilled By Merchant

To maintain shorter fulfillment and delivery times, Amazon is suggesting that merchants fulfill items themselves if they do not fall into the categories listed above.

For these items, you will want to toggle them in your Seller Central from FBA to FBM (Fulfilled By Merchant). This allows you to ship the items out of your warehouse or through a third-party provider other than FBA. 

For additional assistance on this, read Sellbrite’s help article on the topic.  

2. Store, Pick, and Pack the Items Yourself

If you have the warehouse space, try fulfilling the items yourself. Platforms like ShipStation offer workflow features to quickly and efficiently ship out all of your ecommerce orders. Regardless of where your orders originate, you can batch all of your orders together and ship them out using carriers you prefer. Here are ways ShipStation can help you fulfill more orders more quickly. 

Batching

A significant time-saver is batch shipping. Printing multiple labels at once cuts your processing time down a lot. Since your FBA items could originate from orders across multiple selling channels, you may ship all of your orders the same. 

Using Automation Rules, you can apply shipping services to all of your orders upon import based on criteria such as the customer-selected service you’ve defined in the selling channel (things like “Free shipping” or “Express shipping”)  

You can use these same automation rules to assign the orders to a specific picker and apply a unique packing slip and email template to the order. 

Know Exactly When an Order is Ready to Ship

Setting up alerts lets you know when an order is created or is ready to ship. These alerts can be in-app, mobile notifications, or emails.

3. Use Quicker Shipping Services

A major factor for using FBA is their fulfillment and delivery speed. But, if you are able to create a speedy picking and packing workflow, the only missing piece of the puzzle is making sure the parcel arrives to the customer quickly. If your customer is based within the US, you can expect the following estimated transit times for the following services: 

Domestic Shipping Speeds

FedEx Ground 
UPS Ground	These services take 1-5 business days within the contiguous US states, depending on delivery zone. And 3-7 business days for Hawaii or Alaska. 
FedEx 2Day®
UPS 2nd Day Air®	These two services will take two shipping days to reach the final delivery. There is no guarantee beyond that.
FedEx 2Day® AM
UPS 2nd Day Air AM®	These two services will guarantee delivery before noon on the second shipping day.
USPS Media Mail*	2-13 days depending on zone
USPS First Class Mail*
USPS Priority Mail*	Typically 2-3 business days, depending on zone.*  
USPS Priority Mail Express*	Typically 2-3 business days, depending on zone.*

4. Bring on Extra Temporary Staff

COVID-19 has impacted a lot of service industry and retail workers. If you need additional short-term help, now is the time to staff qualified stockers in need of employment that will largely align with your needs. 

Restricted Access for Temp Workers in ShipStation: 

Restricted access to orders and shipments assigned to temp agents is not only a great way to ensure security. It also exposes these users only to the orders and features that they need to use. 

 First, create a user profile for your dropshipper. (You can add as many users as you need, but once you reach your subscription threshold, they are $5 per additional user per month regardless of their access or restrictions). 

On the Permissions tab in the User Management modal, set the appropriate permissions for the user, typically users only give dropshippers permission to Order Management.

On the Restrictions tab, restrict them to only see Orders Assigned To Them and Shipments Assigned to Them. 

5. Use a Fulfillment Provider 

3PLs are a common way to fulfill orders during times of increased sales or during times of growth adjustments. A fulfillment provider is an outsourced company that handles many aspects of your company’s supply chain, such as inventory management and storage, fulfillment and shipping, and return logistics. ShipStation partners with several 3PLs and they are ready and willing to help merchants. 

For a full list of Fulfillment and Third-Party Logistics Providers that integrate with ShipStation, head to our Partners Page

Here is what a few of our partners are offering at this time: 

Kiddly Marketing & Fulfillment

During this time, we are making set up and onboarding a priority. So, we will offer same-day proposals, and those clients that have submitted a signed agreement will be onboarded within 24 hours. We will also waive any receiving fees for pallets or boxes. Container arrivals or full truckloads will be quoted at discounted rates. 

We welcome the opportunity to help any new client continue to supply their customers during this new Amazon policy. Kiddly / KMF Global continues to provide fulfillment services with a 99.847 accuracy rate and offers 25 years of fulfillment experience. 

-Dennis Fedoruk

Kiddly Founder & CEO


 

Shiparoo

In terms of setting up services, we can get customers set up and shipping in a quick as 1-2 days depending on the number of SKUs and complexity of their operations and how organized everything is. Usually, this does take a bit longer but with what is going on we are trying to help however we can.

We know this is a difficult time for businesses so we are doing everything we can to help.

Please let us know if there is anything you need.

-Josh Lazarus

Shiparoo CEO


 

ShipCalm

1) We can have a customer set up in as quickly as 24-48 hours with 1-2 hours worth of phone call meeting and setup.

2) Both our facilities continue to operate and we’re actually hiring more workers to deal with the influx

3) We can use services standard for FBM, as well as Seller Fulfilled Prime if needed

4) As soon as FBA is re-established, we can easily prepare their inventory to be sent into FBA if that’s what is needed.

All of our pricing is on our website and we have salespeople standing by ready to field phone calls.

-Greg Moser
ShipCalm President


 

Warehouse-Pro

Warehouse-Pro can immediately begin processing orders through your ShipStation account that come from the Amazon marketplace or were intended for FBA. We offer next-day processing after initial arrival. 

Check out this video for more information.

Billy Self
Warehouse-Pro President 

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