REUTERS: Amazon will stop shipping non-essential products to consumers in Italy and France, according to an announcement the company published in Chinese on the WeChat social media platform on Saturday (Mar 21).
The policy is an escalation in the e-commerce giant’s response to preserve resources in regions hard hit by the coronavirus outbreak.
An Amazon spokesman said the company made the decision due to a spike in orders and the need to respect anti-coronavirus safety measures in the workplaces.
Amazon considers baby products; health and household items; beauty and personal care; groceries; and industrial, scientific, and pet supplies as essential products.
The world’s largest online retailer said merchants on Amazon are open to sell and ship directly to customers in the region.
More than 274,800 people have been infected across the world and 11,389 have died, according to a Reuters tally. In Italy, the death toll rose by 18.4per cent on Friday, reaching 4,032. France reported 78 new deaths on Friday, reaching a total of 450.
Both countries have announced lock down orders to slow the spread of the virus.
The move comes on the heels of actions Amazon took on Tuesday when it said it will only receive vital supplies at its U.S. and UK and other European warehouses until April 5 to free up inventory space for medical and household goods.
“Effective immediately, Amazon will stop receiving FBA (fulfillment by Amazon) orders from customers on non-essential products on its Italy (Amazon.it) and France (Amazon.fr) site, so that operations employees can focus on fulfilling and delivering on the orders that consumers need the most now,” Amazon.com said in a statement translated from Chinese.
The announcement was made to China-based sellers who may see their businesses taking a hit. Chinese sellers account for 45per cent of active sellers on Amazon.fr, and 44 per cent on Amazon.it, according to data from Marketplace Pulse, an e-commerce research firm.