Amazon wants customers to buy less as demand skyrockets

Amazon is reportedly trying to get customers to buy fewer items on its site as it struggles to keep up with demand.

The Seattle-based e-tailing giant earlier this week lifted its ban preventing third-party sellers from shipping non-essential items to its warehouses after previously announcing that it would only accept “household staples, medical supplies and other high-demand products” so that it could focus on getting them to customers.

Nevertheless, Amazon now is reining in tactics that it normally uses to encourage customers to put more items in their shopping carts so that it can focus on shipping essential items, the Wall Street Journal (paywall) reported on Thursday.

Amazon’s traditional Mother’s Day and Father’s Day deals have been canceled, and the company’s famed Prime Day deals extravaganza has been delayed indefinitely. Amazon has also removed recommendation boxes from its item pages which show shoppers what other related products people bought, according to the report.

“We typically want to sell as much as we can, but our entire network is so full right now with just hand sanitizers and toilet paper that we don’t have the capacity to serve other demand,” an Amazon employee told the paper.

“The demand we are seeing for essential products has been and remains high,” Amazon’s billionaire chief executive Jeff Bezos said in a Thursday letter to shareholders. “But unlike a predictable holiday surge, this spike occurred with little warning, creating major challenges for our suppliers and delivery network.”

Amazon earlier this week announced that it would be hiring 75,000 new warehouse workers, less than a month after it said that it would hire 100,000 workers to help it deal with the influx of orders it has seen as a majority of Americans have been ordered to stay indoors.

The retail giant is currently trying to determine when it will be able to return to a pre-coronavirus capacity, according to the report, and may not be capable of meeting its two-day shipping promise across all categories for at least two months.

The changes also come as the company has faced harsh criticism for the conditions its warehouse workers toil under during the pandemic.

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