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Coronavirus: Is Amazon Fresh Keeping Up with Consumer Demand?

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, online shopping is no longer a luxury but a necessity. People are relying on online deliveries more than ever. This leads us to question whether Amazon Fresh is keeping up with consumer demand.

At the initial stages of this outbreak, we could witness crowded grocery stores with thousands of customers stocking up for quarantine. Everyone was rushing to maintain their stocks after watching other nations taking precautions for the eventuality of lockdowns.

With more and more casualties reported every second, countries locking down, hospitals overflowing, the stock market is losing shares, and industries losing money, this pandemic is wreaking havoc.

While the World is in the claws of the Coronavirus, almost every nation is homebound. Most governments have announced complete lockdowns with limited exposure to the outside world.

Social distancing is leading stores to reduce their operating hours in order to mitigate crowds and to avoid the risks of spreading the virus. Also, to have enough time to restock shelves, sanitize common areas, and to prevent agglomerations.

Therefore, people are relying on eCommerce to acquire goods while staying safe at home.

Here’s how Amazon is dealing with this situation.


Amazon Fresh and The Coronavirus

This change in the pattern has created a tough challenge for online companies like Amazon, especially for their Amazon Fresh section and Whole Foods Market, reportedly when Amazon Pantry has been officially closed.

Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market grocery deliveries are already free for Prime members. However, if you are a new Prime customer, you’ll have to submit a request to enroll in the Amazon Fresh program and wait for Amazon’s invite.

Keep in mind that delivery charges are only applicable if the order amount is below $35. This also includes groceries such as dairy items and meat which are perishable and must be handled with care from storing till delivery.

With millions of people entering quarantine, Amazon Fresh seems to be a good solution to the social distancing restrictions.

Due to the extreme conditions, the company is facing real-time changes and coping with them as they go.

Amazon is striving to work as hard as possible to deliver their promise, there is a lot to do if Jeff Bezos’s statement to his employees is of any hint that ‘things are going to get worse before they get better.’

We have outlined some great obstacles that they are facing in this pandemic that might help you understand the delays due to the high demand.


Demand Overload

The increase in online orders demand has made it difficult for all marketplaces, especially Amazon Fresh, to cope up with this situation.

What Amazon has to say is that serving customers during this time is “critical”:

“We’ve seen an increase in people shopping online for groceries and are working around the clock to continue to deliver grocery orders to customers as quickly as possible.”


Physical Contact

All facts and figures state that deliveries are booked for almost a week’s time. The major challenge is the type of commodities Amazon Fresh has to offer which includes groceries, meat, and dairy products.

Unlike other products, the delivery has to be made in special vehicles that are limited in numbers and must be delivered to the person in hand.

Let’s keep in mind that these people are also risking their own health despite the fact that no physical contact is advised.

More likely, if this situation worsens, there are strong possibilities of introducing drone delivery systems to avoid the transmission of the virus.


Lacking Manpower

Despite that, online sellers are hiring a great number of additional staff to cater to the need of this rising demand. According to sources, Amazon plans to hire 100,000 employees for different job posts at warehouses, delivery centers and stores with an increase in pay of somewhat $2 per hour. All in place and after putting all the efforts there is a clear indication of running out of stock and late deliveries.


What About Other Items?

Amazon has also made it very clear in the past days that for the upcoming weeks they are prioritizing household staples and other coronavirus related products including medical supplies which is a big blow to the third-party sellers and a bigger threat for small retailers that are relying on them.


What Can We Do?

All is not lost. Customers and sellers can look for more ways to handle this situation.

One option is ‘click and collect’ where buyers can purchase online orders but receive them by visiting the store themselves.

As customers have to realize that they cannot get bread and butter in a few hours like they used to. They have to adapt to the changing environment.

This option is most important as it ensures the safety of the delivery person and all of us at the same time. It is smart enough to place online orders to avoid the crowd and disappointment of empty shelves and pick them up in your car to maintain social distance.

Customers can also make a list of the most important things they need and then place an order accordingly. This smart technique would help them limit their orders to the essentials to avoid delayed deliveries because of added items that are not as useful as others.

Furthermore, customers can also opt for non-perishable products like pasta, rice, canned goods, cookies, granola bars, and coffee beans to avail of the regular delivery service and therefore minimize the delay.

As we are getting news from many delivery persons and online stores that they are being appreciated for their service in this hard time, it would be a greater initiative if everyone actively supported this cause.

We must motivate them in spite of late deliveries and tip them well if we feel they have traveled a lot for us.


The Fight Must Go On

Amazon continues this fight by doing their part to compensate for any issues they face.

Here’s what they’re up to:

#1

They have closed Amazon Books, Amazon 4-star, and Amazon Pop Up stores until April 7, 2020. Moreover, Amazon Go stores in Chicago, New York City, and San Francisco will remain closed until April 7, 2020.


#2

With Amazon’s efforts to guarantee essential services to their customers, they have also provided these store associates with the opportunity to help them into different roles to fulfill Prime Now and Amazon Fresh orders. If associates choose to take one of these roles, they will make an additional $2 USD per hour.


#3

Amazon is also taking initiatives like working every day to add more capacity for delivery and pick-up options for the Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market. In case of delivery and/or pickup is delayed, their Whole Foods Market stores are open at full-service capacity for their valued customers.


#4

Amazon teams are working hard amid this coronavirus threat to come up with additional strategic ideas to smoothen the process of delivery. They are taking initiatives that they have never planned for before and are completely different from their traditional approach just to compensate.


#5

According to Amazon officials, they are working around the clock with suppliers to restock high demand products they think customers need most as frequently as possible. In order to serve more customers, we are limiting the purchase quantities of high-demand items.


Fully Committed

On March 22nd, Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, sent a communication through his Instagram account, addressing the COVID-19 challenges the company is facing.

Here’s a fragment of his message:

Dear Amazonians,

This isn’t business as usual, and it’s a time of great stress and uncertainty. It’s also a moment in time when the work we’re doing is its most critical.

We’ve changed our logistics, transportation, supply chain, purchasing, and third-party seller processes to prioritize stocking and delivering essential items like household staples, sanitizers, baby formula, and medical supplies. We’re providing a vital service to people everywhere, especially to those, like the elderly, who are most vulnerable.

People are depending on us.

I’m not alone in being grateful for the work you’re doing…

– Jeff Bezos

Final Thoughts

We are going through very difficult times. But we must believe that things will get better soon as long as we stay united.

Therefore, we need to take into consideration that millions of Amazon employees, which are also being affected by this pandemic, are going the extra mile to make sure our products arrive at the comfort of our home.

Without leaving aside that they are also sacrificing their health to make this possible.

Julia ValdezCoronavirus: Is Amazon Fresh Keeping Up with Consumer Demand?
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