Category: COVID-19 Updates

Home / Category: COVID-19 Updates

Amazon Sellers & COVID-19

25th March 2020 | COVID-19 Updates, General News | No Comments

How Amazon sellers can get through covid-19

COVID-19 is now no stranger to business, with wide spread closures of non-essential businesses and facilities such as gyms, library’s, and even McDonald’s.

Amazon have recently made some decisions which could impact many Amazon sellers, below we will cover some of these changes and what you can do to progress with the changes.

how has covid-19 affected sales on amazon

After the government put in place social distancing and strict rules on why you can leave your house, Amazon have in turn experienced a huge increase in demand for certain items, mostly household essentials, food and healthcare products.

Actions Amazon will take

First of all Amazoon has made the decision to temporarily disable shipment creation of non-essential items to its North American & European warehouses on March 17th, and will remain this way until April 5th. However this date could change depending how the COVID-19 situation develops.

So what does this mean for FBA sellers? Well, in short, you won’t be able to restock into an Amazon warehouse if you aren’t selling in one of six approved categories.

approved essential items

Amazon have categorised what they feel is classed as essential items. Each of the items eligible for approval fall into the below categories:

– Baby products
– Health and household
– Beauty and personal care (including personal care appliances)
– Grocery
– Industrial and scientific
– Pet supplies

what does this mean for you

You can still continue to sell approved items via FBA, however, now more than ever, you need to pay very close attention to your pricing. SInce demand has increased for products, prices are also rising. However, some sellers are inflating their prices making business very unfair on Amazon.

being competitive but fair

Amazon are enforcing their fair pricing policy very aggressively, and if found price gouging your account will be suspended and you could even face prosecution. This means pricing your products correctly is paramount.

Amazon’s fair pricing policy states that you must not ‘Set a price on a product or service that is significantly higher than recent prices offered on or off Amazon.’ This might seem easy enough to comply with, but finding the balance between profitability and compliance can be tricky.

what if my products aren't approved?

You can still sell items that aren’t considered essential if they are currently in Amazon’s warehouse, however, Amazon will not be re-stocking their warehouses with these non-essential items. 

solutions

With Amazon temporarily stopping incoming stock for non-essential items through their FBA network, many Amazon marketplace sellers are faced with having to do the fulfilment themselves. This not always possible for the seller and moreover product listings could lose their competitiveness due to losing the Prime shipping option. At Virtual Logistics, we can quickly integrate your Amazon account with our platform and perform the fulfilment on your behalf. In most cases we can also offer Seller Fulfilled Prime, whereby your products and listings will carry the Prime Badge.

You don’t need to have your products in Amazon’s warehouse to get the benefits of Amazon Prime. Get on board with Virtual Logistics and continue business as usual with little to no down time.

COVID-19 & Business

24th March 2020 | COVID-19 Updates, General News | No Comments

What businesses are effected by the latest covid-19 news

Last night the PM made an announcement imposing a new set of rules we must follow regarding our day to day lives. In fact, these rules are the most stringent the UK has ever been placed under. The idea is to combat the spread of the virus though social distancing after the death toll in the UK has hit 335 deaths. 

As a result, any shops or business’ selling non-essential goods or services have been told to shut and gatherings of more than 2 people who do not live together will be prohibited. In fact, police forces now have the power to enforce these new rules, either by dispersing gatherings and even issuing fines. 

It is very clear now that the pandemic we are facing grows increasingly more threatening day by day, as Boris Johnson has no labelled the Coronavirus a ‘moment of national emergency’ and staying at home is necessary to protect the NHS and save live.

Expect these restrictions to be in place for at least 3 weeks. 

The government guidance says people should only leave home for one of four reasons:

– Shopping for basic necessities such as food and medicine. Shopping trips should be as infrequent as possible.

– One form of exercise a day such as a run, walk, or cycle. This should be done alone or only with people you live with.

– Any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person. This includes moving children under the age of 18 between their parents’ homes, where applicable. Key workers or those with children identified as vulnerable can continue to take their children to school.

– Travelling to and from work, but only where work absolutely cannot be done from home.

Even with the following guidelines in place, people should minimise the amount of time spent away from home, and ensure you remain at least 2 meters away from people you do not live with.

The government is also stopping all social events, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies – but funerals will be allowed.

 

businesses that will not need to close

– Restaurants, cafes and work canteens – but only for food delivery and takeaway services.

– Supermarkets and other premises selling food, including market stalls.

– “Health shops” such as pharmacies.

– Petrol stations, garages and car rental businesses.

– Bicycle shops.

– Home and hardware shops.

– Launderettes and dry cleaners.

– Pet shops.

– Corner shops, newsagents and post offices.

– Banks.

Other premises including libraries, non-essential shops, playgrounds, outdoor gyms and places of worship have been ordered to close.

Parks will remain open for exercise but people are not allowed to gather in groups.

Community centres can remain open but only for the purpose of “hosting essential voluntary or public services” such as food banks or service for homeless people, the guidance says.

Hotels, hostels, campsites and caravan parks must also close unless key workers need to stay there, or if other people staying there cannot return to their primary residence.

DPD have given us further updates regarding their services and COVID-19, this time covering Contact Free Delivery.

contact free delivery - update

We’ve improved our contact free delivery process to include photo capture proof of delivery. Your customers will not be asked to sign our handheld units and our drivers will take a photo of the parcel at the point of delivery.

See DPD’s new signature screen below.

dpd

This now forms our proof of delivery process for all deliveries until further notice.

mother's day

Over the Mother’s Day weekend we saw record-breaking service levels while delivering 280,000 parcels to happy mums throughout the UK.

our people

We are doing everything possible to support our people and we are sharing advice and updates with them on a daily basis in order to keep them as safe as possible.

We will continue to keep you informed via our daily bulletins and regular updates to our website. We have also updated all our app users regarding the new contact free delivery process.

UPS Europe – COVID-19

23rd March 2020 | Courier News, COVID-19 Updates | No Comments

UPS safeguards against covid-19

Last week we received a message from the president of UPS Europe highlighting the main priorities and safeguards put in place to help combat the current epidemic. See what was said below.

“Our highest priority is to maintain the health and safety of our people, customers and suppliers, while meeting our service commitments. UPS has implemented a range of measures in line with World Health Organization guidance to minimise the risks for employees and customers.

These include:

– Encouraging employees to familiarise themselves with information on COVID-19, and to consult with doctors immediately if they feel unwell

– Informing employees about its symptoms and methods of prevention and detection; in particular, reminding employees of good hygiene practices such as regular hand washing and strict adherence to our social distancing guidelines

– Expanding the use of home office and teleworking where operationally and technically feasible

– Implementing an isolation period for employees who have returned from high risk areas

– Advising against all non-essential travel

– Customers are no longer obliged to sign for deliveries, with the exception of some specialised deliveries where we have a contractual obligation to get a signature.

Despite the recent border closures in many countries, we are still able to fulfil shipments for our customers, except where we may be unable to deliver due to exceptional government restrictions. With 112 years of experience and a smart global logistics network that carries 3% of the world’s GDP every day, UPS has a strong track record of keeping deliveries moving in a crisis situation. In Europe, we have invested $2 billion in enhancing our network and services over the last four years. These enhancements give us the flexibility to mobilise dynamic contingency plans to manage and mitigate supply chain disruption”.

COVID-19 Safeguarding

20th March 2020 | COVID-19 Updates, General News | No Comments

important information - Covid-19

As Coronavirus becomes more of a threat in the UK, the chance of the virus spreading increases. Virtual Logistics have set up several safeguarding procedures In order to prevent the spread to our clients and staff. Any staff members who may come into contact with your products must follow a strict hygiene procedure, ensuring the warehouse, packing stations, offices (and hands) are cleaned consistently throughout the day.

We are committed to follow any guidelines put in place by the Government and the World Health Organisation and will be keeping a close eye on any updates following the current pandemic.

So far we have no reported cases of COVID-19 within the Virtual Logistics team, meaning any orders we fulfil for your business pose no threat of infection. If one of our team members becomes ill or show symptoms of illness, we will ensure they follow the guidelines provided by the Government and that they remain in isolation to protect us and yourselves. None of our team have recently traveled to or returned from any areas that pose a threat, meaning infection is unlikely.

Note: At the moment we have an unprecedented amount of orders to fulfil, but we are working as fast as humanly possible to get your orders to your customers. However, please bear with us if your order isn’t dispatched immediately.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch at info@virtuallogistics.co.uk or call us on 01254 918718.

For any information on Coronavirus please refer to the NHS website – https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

We hope you stay in good health during this difficult time, thank you for your understanding.

Parcelforce COVID-19 Update

20th March 2020 | Courier News, COVID-19 Updates | No Comments

Changes to parcelforce's delivery procedure in relation to signing for and receiving items in the UK

In order to protect both their people and customers as much as possible, Parcelforce will not be handing over their hand-held devices to customers to capture electronic signatures.  Their drivers will instead log the first and last name of the person accepting the item, then put ‘XP1’ in the signature field, and then will record the geolocation of the delivery.  This will apply to all deliveries that normally require a signature. 

If recipients are unable to come to the door or are self-isolating, Parcelforce will post a customer contact card in the normal way, advising of other ways the recipient can arrange to get their item. For example, by getting a friend or family member (who is not resident with someone who is self-isolating) to collect the parcel from their local Parcelforce depot or Post Office branch, as specified on the card.  They will need to bring along the card that was left and a form of ID in the name of the person the item is addressed to.  Examples of suitable ID are specified on the card.

Suspension of UK service guarantee

Due to the current situation, there are significant impacts on Parcelforce’s ability to maintain all their usual service levels. They will continue offering their services, receiving and delivering parcels for their customers but there may be disruptions to some services under current conditions.

As a result, Parcelforce have now suspended their service guarantees but will seek to ensure ‘all reasonable endeavours’ to maintain service levels where they can.

The actions being taken are:

Same day ad hoc collections will be suspended, however you can still book an ad hoc collection for the next working day.  Parcelforce asks that parcels are immediately ready for collection so that they can be collected as efficiently as possible.  

Timed services will be reviewed and where possible maintained but you will be informed of restrictions. Changes may be staged as the situation evolves, keeping next working day morning services in place for now.

contingency plans

In the event Parcelforce need to close one of their sites, this decision would be made in line with Public Health England guidance. Parcelforce Worldwide has many years’ experience of contingency planning for a number of different scenarios. Parcelforce will follow the Government’s advice and work closely with the relevant authorities.

Not only that, but Parcelforce has extensive experience in being able to quickly deploy business contingency plans so they can continue to provide customers with access to their services.

signing for and receiving items

In order for Royal Mail to protect both their people and customers as much as possible, they are minimising contact during delivery.  We will not be handing over hand-held devices to customers to capture signatures but instead log the name of the person accepting the item.  Additionally, for all customers that need items delivering that won’t fit through your letterbox, Royal Mail will place your item at your door. Having knocked on your door, your Royal Mail delivery driver will then step aside to a safe distance while you retrieve your item. This will ensure your item is delivered securely rather than being left outside.

special delivery guaranteed by 1pm

For items posted from Thursday 19 March 2020 onwards, Royal Mail no longer guarantee deliveries by 1pm the next working day. They’ll still prioritise Special Delivery parcels and letters and will aim to deliver by 1pm or before the end of day. Resource implications of the latest coronavirus advice means we may not be able to meet the customer promise of guaranteed next day delivery in all locations at all times. 

Special Delivery Guaranteed by 9am service remains unchanged; we still guarantee to deliver by 9am.

We have recently received news from DPD regarding some updates to the current Coronavirus pandemic, which we would like to share;

DPD has implemented extra measures in response to COVID-19 to ensure extra protection for us, our clients, customers and DPD themselves. The latest update is below.

At present DPD can report that their parcel collection, sortation and delivery operations will continue as normal.

CONTACT FREE DELIVERY

Contact free delivery is now DPD’s standard process and customers will not be asked to sign any handheld units.

LATEST UPDATE

DPD have introduced a delivery wave program with drivers, creating a 10-minute gap to avoid too many drivers being together at critical times in the morning.

They are also implementing a Peak period5-6 day working structure that will give them maximum flexibility and allows for driver and warehouse absentees.

Cleaning has been increased throughout the business as a preventative measure.

Full home working is being undertaken across the business for all roles that can work from home.

Measures have been introduced to support self-employed drivers should they need to self-isolate.

LONDON UPDATE

On Wednesday Transport for London announced there would be a partial shutdown of 40 London Underground stations from Thursday morning.

Therefore DPD have immediately implemented a response plan – which involves car sharing and hiring minibuses to support people getting to work.

“We are doing everything possible to support our customers and our people so that we can minimise any disruption and continue giving you and your customers the best possible delivery experience” – DPD.