Amazon is really finding itself under immense strain as it tries to cope with an influx of orders amid the COVID-19/coronavirus pandemic. Not only are shipping times slipping for various products that it sells via its website (for both Amazon and Marketplace platforms), but its inventory has been obliterated when it comes to household staples like toilet paper and hand sanitizer.
In a bid to ease some stress on its shipping channels, Amazon is giving customers a financial incentive to choose slower "No-Rush Shipping" (when available) rather than take advantage of fast and free Prime shipping.
For example, let's take the popular AMD Ryzen 5 3600, which is currently selling for $174.97. In my particular area (Raleigh, NC), if I order within the next 10 hours, I can have the processor on my doorstep on Sunday with free Prime 2-day shipping. Previously, if I had opted to go with slower shipping, I would receive a $1 digital credit that I could use later on Amazon purchases. Now, however, that credit has been tripled to a more generous $3.
Amazon says that it is offering this credit increase in an effort to "prioritize our fastest deliveries for customers in need."
In the grand scheme of things, something like a processor upgrade isn't exactly mission critical to me at this moment, so I wouldn't mind waiting a few more days in exchange for a $3 credit. For those that are unfamiliar with Amazon's No-Rush Shipping credits, they can be combined (from multiple orders) and used for digital items sold via Amazon including music, videos, apps, and eBooks. In this case, this new crop of credits will expire on June 18th, 2020, so you'll have plenty of time to use them.
Earlier this month, the retail giant began temporarily suspending certain categories from its Fulfillment by Amazon program to prioritize its shipments. "We are temporarily prioritizing household staples, medical supplies and other high-demand products coming into our fulfillment centers so that we can more quickly receive, restock, and ship these products to customers," wrote the company. As a result, items from the following categories are prioritized under the FBA program: Baby Products, Health & Household, Beauty & Personal Care, Grocery, Industrial & Scientific, and Pet Supplies.
If all goes according to plan, the FBA program will return to normal operation on April 5th.