Amazon in the US are temporarily adding new Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market delivery and pickup customers to a waitlist by asking them to sign up for an invitation to use their online grocery services. The invite-only service will allow Amazon to increase capacity and invite new customers to shop each week as they do so. Amazon say that to help with the increased demands they will also soon be launching a new feature allowing customers to secure time to shop.
How Amazon are dealing with groceries
The announcement was joined by details of the other ways Amazon are getting groceries to customers in the US during the COVID-19 crisis as detailed below:
- To help meet demand, Amazon have hired more than 100,000 people since March 16, including for grocery delivery, and they are hiring for 75,000 additional roles. They are also investing more than $500 million to support employees and partners during the crisis. Ramping hiring enables them to more quickly receive, restock, and deliver products to customers and continue increasing delivery window availability.
- Amazon are releasing delivery windows throughout the day and have made it easier for customers to see when the next delivery window is available by including it on the homepages of Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market.
- Amazon will adjust store hours for select Whole Foods Market locations to focus exclusively on fulfilling online grocery orders during this time. In addition, they have opened their Woodland Hills, California grocery store as a temporary online-only store, focused exclusively on fulfilling grocery delivery orders.
- In partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Amazon have expanded online access to SNAP (food assistance benefits) in multiple states, including Alabama, Iowa, Nebraska, New York, Oregon, and Washington. They are also working with them on further expansions.
Demand for food and groceries has grown rapidly during the Coronavirus epidemic and Amazon are working to relieve those pressures by restricting some of the services they offer allowing them to concentrate on the essentials. Despite this, it seems that there could still be issues in facilitating these essentials and giving consumers the peace of mind they need when doing their online shopping.