How is Amazon dealing with the Coronavirus crisis?

As national lockdowns keep us all at home, increasing numbers of people are turning to Amazon for deliveries of food, medicine and household essentials. 

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

Data gathered by CommerceIQ from sales between the 20th February and the 23rd March 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 of March, the company announced it was opening 100,000 new roles to help meet increasing demand.
This employment creation is also designed to aid those who’ve lost their income due to the COVID-19 pandemic; 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
By looking after its employees’ health, Amazon is also safeguarding its customers’ health. This is of paramount importance during the COVID-19 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, ensuring 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 sold to governmental or health organizations via Amazon Business.

Paid sick leave for employees
Amazon invested an initial $350 million for additional pay, but expects to surpass that amount as it supports its network of employees and partners throughout the COVID-19 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, offering them 14 days paid leave to stay at home and curb the spread of the virus.

Prioritizing key product categories
Amazon is prioritizing processing “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 across FBA members and Amazon’s B2B platform, freeing up space to process vital items during the crisis. This means 3rd party sellers and 1st party vendors are unable to ship new stock in categories such as consumer electronics, travel accessories or office products, but 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
Amazon Web Services are providing infrastructure and technology to support the UK’s National Health Service in collating vital national data on COVID-19, allowing optimized resource allocation.
The Coronavirus pandemic 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 multifaceted COVID-19 strategy will likely enable it to effectively withstand the intense demand it’ll face over the coming months.

Sources:
https://blog.aboutamazon.com/company-news/update-from-amazons-operations-network
https://blog.aboutamazon.com/company-news/amazons-actions-to-help-employees-communities-and-customers-affected-by-covid-19
https://www.theverge.com/interface/2020/4/1/21201162/amazon-delivery-delays-coronavirus-worker-strikes
https://www.forbes.com/sites/baldwin/2020/03/08/coronavirus-price-gouging-on-amazon/#2db800d117a0
https://techcrunch.com/2020/03/17/amazon-limiting-shipments-to-certain-types-of-products-due-to-covid-19-pandemic/
https://blog.aboutamazon.com/company-news/amazons-actions-to-help-employees-communities-and-customers-affected-by-covid-19