[Editor’s note: This post will be updated as more information becomes available]
During this time of crisis, the operations of most companies are not operating exactly as they would on a normal, day-to-day basis. For example, unforeseen delays or other business challenges could impact the ability to ship or process returns in a timely manner.
For brands and retailers that sell on marketplaces, shipping delays can have a potential impact on seller performance ratings. Fortunately, some marketplaces are providing policy updates given the current reality of many sellers. Note: all marketplaces are still encouraging you to ship as quickly as possible and to set accurate expectations with customers.
Amazon’s policy (updated March 21, 2020) acknowledges the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the health of seller accounts and indicates that Amazon has taken steps to proactively mitigate this impact by relaxing policies for shipping-related performance metrics. Amazon indicates that it will take into account any COVID-related disruption as it relates to late shipping or order cancellation outside of your control. There are also FAQs posted with a lot more detail.
Feb 7 update – indicates that businesses take “precautions to protect your Amazon seller account health,” including canceling previously placed orders that can’t be fulfilled, placing accounts in vacation status, and/or taking additional steps to manage inventory. Amazon does state that it will take current events into account when evaluating account performance and provides information on how to do so.
eBay’s policy (updated March 18, 2020) states:
Ebay realizes that flexibility in business operations is essential right now. We want to reassure you that you will not be penalized for being unable to carry out usual operations. We understand there may be situations where you can’t get an item out the door as fast as normal or you have to unexpectedly cancel an order. So in supporting your needs, your Seller Performance Standards will not be negatively impacted during this period.
eBay also notes that accounts will be protected from being downgraded from the upcoming March 20th seller performance standard evaluation until the June 20th evaluation. Click here to read the full announcement.
This page will be updated as we learn more from other marketplaces. Read more analysis, statements and other COVID-19 resources here.
Google Shopping Actions
Google notified sellers during the week of March 16 via an email that to mitigate the impact of increased demand, it is extending the Retailer Standards seasonal thresholds through June 1, 2020. Google also provided additional details in this notification around estimated delivery date settings, managing your inventory levels, and how to handle oversold items.
Walmart sent a notification (March 20) to third-party sellers on its marketplace with guidance on how to manage order defect rates, inventory and marketing/pricing. At the present time, Walmart is relaxing order defect rate (ODR) policies and pausing suspensions for exceeding maximum ODR thresholds. The notification also offers advice on managing closures and inventory and provides a reminder on marketing and pricing during this time. The Walmart notice asks sellers to update contact information in Seller Center to ensure that you receive urgent communications.