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Amazon Halts Receipt of Non-Essential Retail Goods to Focus on Essential Items

By James Brumley - Updated Mar 17, 2020 at 1:19PM

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The e-commerce giant has been overwhelmed by demand for hand sanitizers, face masks, and other coronavirus-related products.

Amazon.com (AMZN 3.66%) has taken another big step to ensure consumers have access to the goods they need during the COVID-19 crisis. On Tuesday morning, Reuters reports, the company notified third-party sellers that only essential consumer staples would be accepted at its warehouses for temporary storage while waiting to be sold. Amazon specified it would only receive baby products, health and household products, beauty and personal care products, groceries, industrial and scientific equipment, and pet supplies at its U.S. and U.K. warehouses until April 5. Sellers of non-essential items like electronics, toys, home decor, and other goods will need to make their own storage and shipping arrangements until then.

Return to sender stamp, refused delivery

Image source: Getty Images.

For most of those sellers it shouldn't be a terribly tough challenge to tackle. Although some third party partners prefer to outsource package handling and inventory storage duties to Amazon, the company's platform assists sellers in handling deliveries of goods stored outside of Amazon's warehouse network. They'll only need to find a temporary storage solution -- or create one -- if they want to continue selling certain goods should Amazon run out of them by early April. Other sellers already utilize their own inventory storage system.

The e-commerce giant is reportedly overwhelmed by a surge in COVID-19 related online shopping from homebound consumers. Amazon recently unveiled plans to hire 100,000 temporary warehouse workers to help meet demand. Late last month it stepped up its effort to curb false product claims and price gouging on goods that might help combat coronavirus infections, by removing or refusing to list more than one million overpriced or erroneously described products.

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