[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.
[April 10, 2020] Amazon Pauses Account Suspensions for Order Performance
Amazon announced that, due to fulfillment challenges beyond the control of many sellers, it is temporarily pausing account suspensions for order performance. According to Amazon: “To protect your account and ensure these supply chain and fulfillment difficulties do not impact your Account Health, beginning March 20, we stopped suspending selling accounts for high cancelation or high late shipment rates. Effective immediately, we are also stopping suspension of selling accounts for high order defect rates. These changes will stay in effect through May 15. We will continue to evaluate the situation, and let you know if we will extend this further.” [Read full policy]
[March 21, 2020] Amazon Adjusts Policy on Late Shipping and Order Cancellations Outside of Seller Control
Amazon’s policy 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. [Read policy]
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.
[April 14, 2020] Additional Support for Sellers
eBay outlined its updated seller support policies, including deferred fee payments, shipping, incremental free listings and more. Regarding seller performance standards, eBay states:
Seller performance standards will not be negatively impacted for the next 90 days so you won’t be penalized if you can’t ship items as quickly as usual or if you need to unexpectedly cancel an order. [Read Additional Support for Sellers page]
[March 21, 2020] eBay Statement: ‘How We Are Supporting and Protecting Our Sellers’
Read the full statement here.
[March 18, 2020] eBay Adjusts Seller Performance Policy During COVID-19 Crisis
eBay’s revised policy 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. [Full announcement]
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’s policy (updated March 24, 2020) states that it is relaxing order defect rate (ODR) score calculations, offered tips for how to manage closures and inventory, and gave a reminder on marketing/pricing.
Walmart’s new ODR policy states:
Effective immediately, we are (a) relaxing ODR score calculations to take into consideration any COVID-19-related challenges you may have with listing, canceling, and shipping inventory and (b) pausing any suspensions for exceeding maximum ODR thresholds. Our intent is to ensure Marketplace Sellers are not penalized due to demand or supply chain or workforce challenges for cancellations, slower on-time shipping, or slower on-time delivery. We still encourage you to ship quickly as possible (TwoDay and expedited) and set accurate expectations with customers to ensure they have a great experience.