Hi Jason, Would be grateful to have your thoughts on whether there are any particular issues we need to watch out for when researching, sourcing and launching a new product in this Covid-19 pandemic season? For example: shipping times, escalated shipping costs, categories of products to avoid, using the warehouse facilities,etc Thanks
Some things to watch for:
1. Restrictions on products related to combating COVID-19, such as masks and sanitizers. Both government authorities and online marketplaces (Amazon, eBay, etc.) might have restrictions on various items. These might include certification for products with claims, such as N95 masks, etc.
2. Shipping. Air freight is extremely expensive now because of the lack of supply due to the drastic cuts in air cargo capacity that's usually provided by commercial passenger flights. Sea freight is also experiencing delays due to workplace restrictions, stricter checks, etc. Anecdotally, several people I know have experienced a 2 month delay due to slower customs clearance at US ports.
3. Listings that are classified as non-essential by Amazon are still facing the temporary inbound shipping quantity limits or completely blocked from shipping to Amazon fulfilment centers. It is not known how long the temporary limits will last. More additional listings are gradually being allowed to send in inventory as Amazon scales up staffing to cope with the massive shift to online shopping due to lockdowns. Amazon has hired 175,000 new staff for FBA in the last month. A solution is to list FBM as well on the same listing and use a 3rd party logistics (3PL) to store and fulfil orders. I'm scheduled for a call to discuss this with a 3PL company tonight (10am EST).
4. Product Research. When looking at keyword search volume and sales velocity and revenue estimates, be aware that some results might be skewed. For example, any keywords related to toilet paper, masks, gloves, etc., would have abnormal spikes. Conversely, some listings might look like sales have dropped, but this could possibly be partially attributed to the longer delivery times (over 1 month instead of the usual 2 days for Prime), which cause customers to not buy. Check historical sales charts (1 year, all-time) to get a better gauge of what sales would be in normal times.