It’s time to address the elephant in the room.
On the 12th March, The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed the recent coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) as being a pandemic. Meaning, it’s likely to drastically affect our lives for the next few weeks, maybe months.
Before I talk about how this will, or is currently impacting our Amazon businesses, I feel I should share some basic information about the disease.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is an infectious, flu-like disease from the coronavirus family. The outbreak originated in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.
Its symptoms are similar to those from regular flu, and have commonly included:
- Dry cough
- Difficulty breathing
A smaller number of patients have reported aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat and diarrhoea.
The symptoms are mostly mild and some people carrying the disease don’t report feeling unwell at all.
Because the situation is unpredictable, ensure you stay aware of the latest information regarding the outbreak. Reliable sources include Who.int and https://www.health.gov.au.
You can reduce your risk of infection by taking these simple precautions:
- Regularly wash your hands thoroughly for 20 secs. Ensure you wash the backs of your hands, in between fingers and under your nails.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue if you cough or sneeze. Then throw the tissue away and wash your hands. If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your elbow.
- Avoid touching your face.
- Maintain at least a 1m (3 feet) distance from anyone coughing or sneezing.
- Stay at home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention (by phone).
- If you’ve recently returned from an affected area, stay at home and avoid contact with other people for 14 days.
With the media portrayal of anything on this scale, it’s normal to feel worried about your health and that of your loved ones. Ensure to take simple precautions and stay up to date on your local situation.
What COVID-19 means for your Amazon business
Obviously, public health is the number one concern right now. But, as Amazon sellers rely heavily on shipments from China, we need to think about how this will affect our business and what we can do about it today.
Fortunately, most Amazon sellers order extra stock in anticipation of the Chinese New Year holiday so may have enough to function as normal for a while. But, as factories in China are running at about 50-60% capacity right now, things are really slowing down.
Shortages, delays and maybe even quality issues are to be expected.
Another thing to consider is the delay at customs. Authorities may take a special interest in goods coming from China.
What can you do?
- Keep up-to-date with your suppliers by sympathetic.
- Keep your customers informed of the situation and when they can expect their goods.
- If needs be, point your customers to an alternative product
- If your supplier has completely shut down, ask if they could recommend another – temporarily.
- Keep up-to-date with RELIABLE news sources.
- And lastly, don’t panic.
COVID-19 is a big concern for all of us, but remember to put your health and that of your neighbours above everything else.
Until next time.