Grocery delivery has skyrocketed during the coronavirus outbreak, and even Amazon appears to be struggling to keep up. The retailer is putting new grocery delivery and pickup customers for both Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market on a waitlist as available time slots have become nearly nonexistent in recent weeks.
According to Amazon's blog, the company has expanded Whole Foods Market pickup from 80 stores to more than 150 and hired more than 100,000 new associates, including for grocery delivery, during COVID-19. Some Whole Foods' store hours will be cut in order to handle the increase in online demand.
"While we have increased order capacity by more than 60 percent due to COVID-19, we still expect the combination of restricted capacity due to social distancing and customer demand will continue to make finding available delivery windows challenging for customers," wrote Stephenie Landry, VP of grocery at Amazon. "To help, in the coming weeks, we will launch a new feature that will allow customers to secure time to shop. This feature will give delivery customers a virtual “place in line” and will allow us to distribute the delivery windows on a first come, first served basis. Simultaneously, we will continue to add capacity as swiftly as possible."
The anticipated Amazon grocery store in Woodland Hills, Calif., has become a temporary online-only store to help fulfill grocery delivery orders.
Amazon, however, is increasing its capacity for nonessential items after temporarily prioritizing cleaning products and shelf-stable food last month.
"Later this week, we will allow more products into our fulfillment centers," Amazon said in a statement. "Products will be limited by quantity to enable us to continue prioritizing products and protecting employees, while also ensuring most selling partners can ship goods into our facilities."