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Amazon Focus on Essentials Sows Panic, Confusion Among Merchants

  • Online merchants alarmed by late April delivery dates
  • Confusion over how Amazon defines non-essential goods
Inside An Amazon Inc. Fulfilment Center On Prime Day
Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg
Updated on

Amazon.com Inc.’s delivery delays of non-essential goods will extend for at least another month for many customers in the U.S. and Europe, stirring panic among online merchants who rely on the web retailer for business.

The lengthening delivery times come on top of confusion over how the company identifies essential products, a task that appears to be performed by algorithms with little human oversight. Online merchants became alarmed Sunday when they saw delivery dates pushed into late April, meaning many of them will lose more than a month of sales in the fallout from the coronavirus outbreak.