Clicking Buy on Amazon? It’s Trying to Prevent a Coronavirus Caveat

on Feb21
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Mr. Kavesh, 57, who is based in a Seattle suburb, said that the factory in China that produced his cowboy hats was closed and that he did not know when it would reopen. Even after the factory’s workers return, the facility needs wool from its Chinese suppliers to make the hats.

“The key component — they don’t know when they are going to get that,” he said.

It takes about four months for his orders to be made and to arrive in the United States, Mr. Kavesh added. That means he typically would have products already in process for Prime Day, Amazon’s two-day shopping deal extravaganza, which usually falls in early July.

Amazon appears to share the concern. On Wednesday, it sent an email to a beauty supplies brand asking whether it expected to have enough of its top five products this summer.

“Amazon is trying to establish an inventory risk for your business moving forward and specifically for Prime Day,” said the email, which The Times reviewed. “We appreciate your feedback by TODAY.”

Mr. Naim said some brands he worked with had pulled back on their ads on Amazon by 25 percent to 50 percent, and had stopped promotions they had planned, to preserve money and inventory. Other sellers said they were contemplating whether to raise prices to prevent — or at least delay — running out of stock.

Eddie Levine, who has been selling on Amazon since 2012, shipped more than 130 containers of toys, housewares and other goods from China last year, largely to offer on the site. He has cautioned the brands he works with against raising prices, saying that if a $20 product suddenly costs $40, “the last thing you want is a bad review saying it’s not worth $40.”

But if the virus disruptions persist into late spring or early summer, “people will have to raise prices without even having the option because there is just no stock,” Mr. Levine said. “That’s pure supply and demand.”

Karen Weise reported from Seattle, and Michael Corkery from New York.

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