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Coronavirus Crisis Management and Online B2B Sellers, Amazon Limits Marketplace Fulfillment and Rolex’s Worst Year


Coronavirus Crisis Management and Online B2B Sellers

B2B sellers are preparing for the long haul while coping with the impact of coronavirus on ecommerce business. With coronavirus spreading rapidly and changing daily, B2B manufacturers, distributors and other B2B sellers are working on managing their operations in this ever changing landscape. For many companies such as, buying behavior drives how it reacts to the virus. “Staying on top of various scenarios and developing plans to address this coronavirus is based on consistency of voice and actions for our customers and employees,” says Bulbs CEO Mike Connors. “We are also identifying ecommerce and operational adjustments that have been brought on by the current situation.” Sustainable Supply Co., an online distributor of “eco-friendly” building materials, cleaning supplies, and maintenance, repair and operations products is also reacting to the coronavirus based on factors such as available inventory, supplier relationships and buyer demand. “Our janitorial supply business on has exploded and it is indeed turning into an all out war for supplies,” says CEO Brian Fricano. “Dealers and consumers are trying to snatch up every last piece of inventory—we’ve sold a year’s worth of toilet paper in the past three days.”

What stood out to us? A slump in toilet paper sales in Q3 and Q4.

Amazon app on a cellphone

Amazon Limits Marketplace Fulfillment

Amazon has limited marketplace fulfillment to medical supplies and household essentials. The categories Amazon will continue to sell include baby products, heath and household, beauty and personal care, grocery, industrial and scientific, and pet supplies. According to its notice, the ecommerce giant is temporarily "prioritizing household staples, medical supplies and other high-demand products coming into our fulfillment centers so that we can more quickly receive, restock, and ship these products to customers." In addition, through April 5, Amazon has suspended the intake of the majority of products from U.S. and European Union Marketplace sellers into its fulfillment center. Amazon said it also has a similar policy for wholesale vendors for its first-party site. Sellers can "sell non-household staples or medical supplies through merchant-fulfilled channels," but not through the company’s Fulfillment by Amazon program, which includes Amazon Prime and one and two day shipping.

What stood out to us? The companies that invested in selling direct online over the past few years will weather this storm much better. 

Rolex store

Rolex Prepares for Worst Year in History

The Swiss watch industry was adapting to the downturn from political protests in Hong Kong, its largest market, with the coronavirus outbreak hit. Rolex shut down all of its plants in Switzerland for at least 10 days staying Tuesday. In total, Swiss watch exports fell the most in eight months in February, with shipments to China falling 52% and Hong Kong falling 42%. It threatens employment in Swiss watchmaking, which supports 59,000 people and accounts for approximately a tenth of the country’s exports, Sanford C. Bernstein’s Luca Solca said. “This scenario is worse than in 2008, as there doesn’t seem to be any offset—other than possibly a quantum of solace from online,” Solca wrote.

What stood out to us? The companies that invested in selling direct online over the past few years will weather this storm much better. Rolex has no buy button. ​​

In the headlines

  • Amazon gets hit with Coronavirus: The retail giant has confirmed its first coronavirus case in a U.S. warehouse.
  • Walmart’s hiring: Walmart announced it’s planning to hire 150K hourly employees.
  • Facebook’s grant: Facebook announces $100M in grants to small businesses that have been impacted by coronavirus.  

Before you go

Read about...

Retail stores that are closing and offering free shipping perks to promote online shopping.

See how...

Coronavirus is creating big supply chain headaches for B2B ecommerce.

Learn how...

Coronavirus is changing shoppers’ relationships with grocery retailers.

Watch this...

Completely unrelated to ecommerce, enjoy this video of penguins on a field trip in Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium.

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