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Coronavirus Crisis

Since the first restrictions were put in place the country seems to have settled into the new reality with good grace, with the vast majority of citizens complying with the rules and understanding the need for them. One of the results due to non-essential shops being closed is that some sectors of eCommerce have seen skyrocketing sales. Those sellers who have been able to navigate around the safe social distancing rules for staff, reliable stocks from suppliers and working arrangements to deliver items have sometimes seen an explosive growth. Some sellers are not able to continue trading, but those that are have sometimes benefited.

Some results have not been surprising – sales on home improvements, gardening supplies, jigsaws, games and stationery have done well, whereas fashion has suffered as people are not going out.

Jigsaws usually have a thriving second-hand process, and interestingly the prices have skyrocketed over the last few weeks. Standard prices for a used 1000 piece jigsaw were around £5-£7 including postage, but these prices have trebled. This is likely because along with all the other restrictions jigsaws are usually exchanged at charity shops and that option is not available at the moment.

Amazon has started to lift some of the restrictions on non-essential goods, although there is still the “high priority” policy in force for FBA items. Sellers are facing a range of problems however, as Amazon seems to be struggling to keep up with orders and deliveries into Amazon are being sorted into essential and non-essential.

Amazon are hosting a series of webinars to assist sellers, and have created a page which has the most important points in one place:

https://sellercentral-europe.amazon.com/gc/sell-online/covid-19?ref_=BC19HP&

Amazon have supplied the following statement:

“We understand the impact that COVID-19 has had on many of our selling partners and are working hard to help them during this difficult time, including waiving certain fees, pausing loan repayments, providing regular updates and guidance via direct communication channels, and relaxing our policies around shipping-related performance metrics to mitigate impact on their account health.”

– Amazon spokesperson

eBay has offered to defer most fees with an option to pay in instalments. They are also refunding any shop subscription fees if you have temporarily closed – this applies to either a whole month or for half a month.

eBay has also promised to freeze seller status so you will not be adversely impacted by situations you cannot control.

eBay Customer Services team is now working from home, and this system appears to be working well – usually they will call you back within a few minutes.

More details here, along with useful links to other websites including Post Office opening hours:

https://sellercentre.ebay.co.uk/business/COVID-19?_trkparms=%26clkid%3D1183667266340026964

eBay has also been very proactive in helping the government to create a portal so that PPE can be distributed quickly and efficiently – and they have done this for free. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-personal-protective-equipment-ppe-plan/covid-19-personal-protective-equipment-ppe-plan#ppe-website

The Government said:

“We are hugely grateful to frontline staff working tirelessly to save lives across the country, and it is absolutely vital they receive the PPE they need.

 Since the start of the outbreak, we have delivered over a billion pieces of PPE to the frontline, but we recognise more still needs to be done.

 This is why I’m delighted to be partnering with eBay to pilot a new online portal which offers an additional route for health and social care workers to access PPE.”

– Jo Churchill, Health Minister

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