Across the United Kingdom, leading eCommerce services and other key businesses are rolling out their COVID-19 plans, relief measures and programs to support online retailers during this time of crisis.
While we will not be able to see the full impact the coronavirus pandemic will have on our country for some time, there are plenty of encouraging responses from popular eCommerce platforms, courier services and many other service providers in the wider selling community.
We understand just how stressful this time is, which is why we’ve put together the current status, COVID-19 response and related resources shared by online marketplaces, eCommerce platforms, shipping couriers and other key players in the online retail world.
More eCommerce service providers will be added as we continue to reach out for clarification, and we will be adding a US-focused alternative resource later this week.
Status: Active with limited warehouse storage for FBA retailers
As of 30th March, 2020, Amazon has announced it will be temporarily limiting receiving, restocking and shipping products that weigh more than 15kg. Any parcels already in the system on their way to its fulfilment centres are likely to still be processed; however it's likely some will be rejected.
If you are sending stock into FBA, then you can split your packages into smaller batches to get around the 15kg limit. Any shipments over 15kg that have been created but not yet shipped should be cancelled.
We’re sure that you will have heard about the general product FBA restrictions from Amazon UK by now, but if not, then the eCommerce giant has been receiving unprecedented levels of activity on its website.
As a result, Amazon has temporarily suspended the storing of most goods in its FBA warehouses, prioritising household staples, medical supplies and other high demand products so that the company can more quickly receive, restock and ship essential items to customers.
To be clear here, this does not affect all items currently stored in Amazon’s fulfilment centres.
As such, if you are in need of alternative third-party fulfilment services, then we have compiled together a complete list of global eCommerce fulfilment services worth checking out.
Amazon is also working to ensure that no online sellers artificially raise prices on basic need items during this pandemic, having blocked or removed tens of thousands of items already.
On top of this, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is working with public health organisations, government agencies and businesses around the world to give support where possible to help manage the ripple effect of the coronavirus crisis.
For example, AWS will be providing customers in the most affected regions with technical support and credits to help cover business costs. More information on this will be shared shortly.
To help its independent delivery service partners and their drivers, Amazon Flex participants and seasonal employees under financial distress, the leading marketplace is in the process of establishing the Amazon Relief Fund, with a $25 million initial contribution.
Finally, Amazon is working to support the vulnerable across the United Kingdom, by partnering with nonprofit organisations that are providing critical services at this time.
This includes charitable donations to the British Red Cross and free online STEM resources to students in lower-income communities to enable free learning while the schools are closed.
Amazon has also partnered with UK charity Magic Breakfast to ensure school children in disadvantaged areas can still continue to receive free breakfasts during closures.
In light of these changing times, eBay UK is updating its current policies to help support eBay sellers and protect their livelihoods.
The popular online marketplace has already adjusted its seller standards from 20th March 2020 to 20th June 2020, which means that your eBay Seller Performance will be preserved even if you or your shipping provider are unable to fulfil your orders as quickly as normally.
In addition, eBay UK is cracking down on sellers listing essential items at inflated prices.
Activity that doesn’t follow eBay listing policies may result in listings being ended, cancelled, hidden or demoted from search results, a decreased seller rating or even account suspension.
So far, eBay has removed more than 350,000 coronavirus-related items and suspended hundreds of rogue accounts (25th March, 2020).
To make sure your eBay listings are fully compliant, check out the following eBay resources:
- Disaster and tragedy policy
- Prescription and over-the-counter drugs policy
- Search manipulation policy
If you are facing temporary closure to your eBay business as a result of the coronavirus crisis, we recommend that you look at doing the following:
All sellers can leave their listings active and manually increase the handling time. This enables you to still sell items, while informing your buyers that delivery times will be longer.
For Good ‘Til Cancelled listings, you may find it best to activate the ‘out of stock’ option, which removes your listings from eBay searches and protects your sales history for when you’re ready to start selling again.
And for eBay shop subscribers, you may want to activate holiday settings and hide your fixed priced listings until you return to selling as normal. In case your customers still place orders, make sure to increase your handling times.
Finally, with retail businesses across the UK struggling to keep running during these challenging times, eBay UK has pledged a major cashflow boost by offering payment holidays for all existing and new sellers.
From the week commencing 23rd March 2020, no business joining eBay UK will be required to pay any listing fees or selling fees, until 31st May 2020.
Current eBay UK sellers will also benefit from a 30-day rest on all fees, with the possibility of this window being extended at the end of April.
Please note that eBay UK is experiencing large volumes of calls at the moment and as a result customer service wait times are much longer than usual.
It’s business as usual for BigCommerce store owners. To tide you through this pandemic, however, the leading eCommerce platform is launching several initiatives for its prospects and customers alike.
To start with, BigCommerce is launching three months for free on all plans for new sellers across the globe. If you’ve been on tenterhooks about starting an online business or switching platforms, then now may be a good time to test the waters.
Remember to be mindful of this offer, as it’s currently unclear as to whether or not you will be tied into a 12-month (or similar) contract. We’ll update this section as soon as we know.
The BigCommerce team is also working hard to provide global online retailers with important resources to help you navigate this time of crisis.
Owned by Adobe, Magento’s own response to the coronavirus pandemic is less specific than that of BigCommerce or Shopify; however, it’s likely that more will be unveiled this week.
For those of you planning to attend Magento Imagine at the Adobe Summit will now be able to access the event as a digital experience, rather than in-person. Cancelling the conference was a decision taken with your best interests at heart.
Shopify is fully prepared for COVID-19 and is eager to help its customers navigate their way through the crisis. The leading eCommerce platform does not foresee any impact on critical systems, teams or its infrastructure.
To start with, Shopify is supporting its UK and US customers with access to funding with Shopify Capital. The eCommerce platform has $200 million available in small business funding, and is working with governments to make its capital offerings available in more countries as soon as possible.
The team has also set up a COVID-19 community forum, for its sellers to connect with other businesses and get support during this pandemic. You’ll also find several new and relevant resources on the Shopify blog, while Shopify webinars will be following shortly.
If you're a current Shopify store owner and have the ability to drop off orders personally, then the eCommerce platform recommends that you create a local delivery option only visible to customers living within that area.
In addition, the team is currently working on a feature to allow retailers using Shopify POS to offer in-store or sidewalk pick up for online orders. This should be released later this week.
Finally, for any online retailers considering switching to Shopify or starting a separate Shopify store, Shopify is offering a 90-day free trial of its software. If you're currently on a 14-day trial, then you are free to extend it.
Popular eCommerce platform, WooCommerce, will be in full operation during COVID-19. As open source (free) software, there is little disruption to the WooCommerce team’s processes.
For those of you planning to attend local WooCommerce community meetups, the company has put together guidance for event organisers. Otherwise, WooCommerce users can join the platform’s active Slack community.
For ease of reading, we have compiled the key shipping services across the globe into one large, regularly updated resource. You'll find updates on Amazon Shipping, DHL Parcel, Direct Link, DPD, Hermes, Royal Mail, Yodel and many more shipping companies. Head to our shipping resource now.
Other eCommerce services
WorldFirst has confirmed its ongoing, business-as-usual approach, and that its service commitment remains in place during the ongoing pandemic.
The online payments platform has assured its customers that all funds will continue to be protected and secure within accounts at their top-tier baking partners.
While some markets have seen enormous disruption, WorldFirst has reported normal levels of business activity during this time. Staff are now remote-working where possible across the globe and the company is able to deal with all customer transactions and enquiries as normal.
The WorldFirst online portal also remains fully functioning and is accessible 24 hours a day.
Payoneer has advised that it is operating as normal, with its staff working from home.
At this moment in time, Payoneer is not experiencing any supply chain issues or reduced staffing levels. If you have any personal concerns, get in touch with the team and they will do their best to advise you.
Global Freight Solutions (GFS) has reported that it will continue to operate as normal under its Business Continuity Plan. However, delays of 2-4 days are to be expected in the worst affected parts of Europe.
Deliveries to homes in France will only occur between Wednesday-Friday starting 30th March 2020.
All GFS partner carriers have reported an increase in their collection volumes during this time.
GFS recommends that if any users anticipate changes to their order volumes (an increase or a decrease) within the next seven days to contact their respective GFS account manager.
Check this resource regularly to stay up to date
We will be updating this article regularly with all of the latest information as we get it, so make sure to save this page in your bookmarks to refer to should you need.
Plus, we’re in talks with a number of eCommerce platforms, online marketplaces, shipping couriers and other third-party services not on this list to understand how they are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ll add new companies to this list on a regular basis.
Stay safe and well. As always, please let us know what content would be useful at this time and help you to navigate the coronavirus crisis by filling out the form on our COVID-19 portal.