Surge of Online Grocery Shopping Leads Amazon to Launch Waiting List

Picture shows the Amazon electronic commerce company's logistics center in San Fernando de Henares, near Madrid, on the eve of "Black Friday", on November 24, 2016. (Photo by GERARD JULIEN / AFP) (Photo credit should read GERARD JULIEN/AFP via Getty Images)
File Photo: GERARD JULIEN/AFP via Getty Images

Millions of Americans told to stay home to stop the spread of the coronavirus have caused such a huge surge in online grocery shopping that the mammoth Amazon announced it will now be putting people who are new to ordering from its Whole Foods Market stores on a waiting list to deal with customers’ demands.

Some Whole Food Market stores, which, like Amazon, are owned by Jeff Bezos – who also owns the Washington Post – will also reduce hours for in-store shopping at some of its stores.

Reuters reported on the decision after millions of Americans, including those who are regular customers, had trouble getting orders confirmed and delivered: 

In recent weeks, it increased the number of Whole Foods stores offering grocery pickup to more than 150 locations, up from 80 previously.

Amazon also plans to shorten some Whole Foods stores’ hours for the public so its employees can more quickly fulfill online grocery orders, the company said.

Amazon offers grocery delivery services Amazon Fresh and Amazon Prime Now from its own warehouses and Whole Foods stores. It typically touts ultra-fast delivery within hours, with shoppers able to choose a delivery window. Last month, Amazon temporarily suspended the Prime Pantry delivery service, which sells non-perishable groceries.

Amazon is facing these issues despite increasing its online grocery traffic by 60 percent since the coronavirus outbreak and stay-at-home guidance or orders were issued by government officials.

Amazon has also said it will be hiring as many as 100,000 to meet the growing demands for its services during the coronavirus.

“Currently, Amazon runs 487 Whole Foods stores in the United States,” Reuters reported. “These stores have been limiting the number of customers allowed at once, and Amazon has said it conducts daily employee temperature checks and sends masks and gloves to protect workers.”

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