Panic buying hits Amazon

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Panic buying hits Amazon

By Dan Berthiaume - 03/16/2020
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Even Amazon is having trouble keeping certain items in stock.

In a corporate blog post, the e-tail giant said as COVID-19 (coronavirus) has spread, there has been a corresponding increase in online shopping. As a result, Amazon was out of stock on certain brands and items, especially in household staples categories, as of Saturday, March 14. The e-tailer is also extending some of its delivery windows.

Amazon says it is working “around the clock” with selling partners to ensure product availability and bringing on extra delivery capacity. The company is also working to ensure that no one artificially raises prices on basic need products during the pandemic and has blocked or removed tens of thousands of items. 

Established Amazon policy prohibits price-gouging and the company says it actively monitors third-party sellers and removes violators.  

Amazon also allows Prime Now, Amazon Fresh, and Whole Foods Market delivery customers to select unattended delivery for orders not containing alcohol. 

Other steps Amazon has taken to help mitigate the effects of the coronavirus include asking all employees worldwide to work from home through the end of March if their jobs permit, expanding sick leave to let all Amazon employees diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed into quarantine receive up to two weeks of pay, and establishing an Amazon Relief Fund focused on supporting independent delivery service partners and their drivers, Amazon Flex participants, and seasonal employees.

In addition, the e-tailer also recently launched a $5 million Neighborhood Small Business Relief Fund to provide cash grants to small businesses in Seattle that need assistance dealing with the impact of COVID-19. The company will also subsidy a full month of rent for tenants in the buildings it owns, and is continuing to pay all hourly staff who work for the service providers that support its offices in Seattle and Bellevue, Wash., during the time the company has recommended its employees work from home.