Due to “shelter in place” orders and social isolation in response to the recent Coronavirus pandemic, demand for online products has surged to unprecedented levels. Now, even Amazon’s supply chain is starting to feel the strain. According to dates published on the platform, some Amazon Prime deliveries may now take up to several weeks to complete. So much for the one-day Prime delivery model for all products.
Social Distancing and the Sudden Surge in Demand for Online Products
The Coronavirus pandemic and this huge surge in demand for online products are directly correlated. As people practice social distancing and isolation, they spend more time at home, and online. As a result, people spend more money online. People still need goods, despite not being able to go outside and get them from their local retail stores. Therefore, consumers flock to online retailers such as Amazon and other platforms to get their products.
That said, this huge influx of demand has created a bottleneck in the eCommerce giant’s supply chain. At the time of publishing this article (March 24th, 2020), Amazon is showing a delivery date as far as out as April 21 for items such as AmazonBasics printer paper and aluminum shovels…and that’s even if these items are still available in the first place.
As Amazon Focuses Only on Essentials, Other Small Businesses See Opportunities
Pushing back delivery timeframes isn’t the only approach Amazon is taking during these unexpected times. In order to free up their supply chain and meet demand, they have also excluded all “non-essential” goods from being sold on the platform. While this strategy cripples thousands of sellers who solely rely on Amazon’s platform, this gap also creates a huge opportunity for smaller eCommerce businesses to meet the growing demand during Coronavirus isolation.
Amazon moving to only “essentials” creates a simple imbalance of supply and demand. When Amazon locks “non-essential” sellers out of its marketplace, it creates a shortage of supply on the platform. However, despite that supply shortage, online demand will only continue to rise over the course of this pandemic. As Amazon leaves more unfulfilled demand for products in its wake, small eCommerce businesses that make use of the major shipping carriers’ networks can then step up to fulfill those orders.