Amazon Prime suspends delivery promises


The coronavirus pandemic is sparking debate about what consumers want — and when they want it.

“If retailers thought consumers were demanding before the coronavirus arrived, just wait until the virus is gone and consumers let their voices be heard.”

Amazon (AMZN) told consumers this past week that its paid-subscription Prime service is facing monthlong delays in shipping due to the coronavirus outbreak and that the company will focus on stocking and delivering higher-priority items.

“This has resulted in some of our delivery promises being longer than usual,” the company said in a statement.

The e-commerce giant also temporarily closed its Prime Pantry delivery service as it faces a surge in orders stemming from the pandemic.

A new dawn

Only two weeks ago, the e-retailing and logistics giant shutting down or suspending its same day or two-day delivery services would have been unthinkable.

In a battle that seemed to intensify weekly, Amazon and fellow retail behemoth Walmart (WMT) have been competing to see who can get stuff to consumers the fastest, announcing initiative after initiative to shave days and hours off delivery times.

But that was then, pre-coronavirus. This is now, when panic-buying has depleted grocery store shelves and hospitals face dire shortages of medical supplies, upending long-held beliefs about consumer purchasing and raising questions about institutional purchasing habits and supply chain practices.

Among those debates is whether the supply chain is overly infatuated with fast shipping, and whether there is a better way of managing e-commerce and retail to prevent shortages.

Read more: FreightWaves