Amazon.com Inc. (Amazon) said on Sunday, April 12, 2020, that it would curtail shopping hours at some of its subsidiary, Whole Foods Market (Whole Foods) stores and enlist the demands of the new customers on a waiting section. The aim of this move was to prioritize orders from existing customers, who have been regularly buying grocery items online during the coronavirus outbreak, as the demands for delivery increased tremendously over the weeks in the US.
Amazon’s Whole Foods Operations Surge
The world’s largest online e-commerce retailer, Amazon has been facing a high rise in demands of grocery items from customers due to the emergency lockdown and companies’ policies of imposing work from home for employees in the US. Despite the Seattle-based e-commerce company aimed to provide deliveries of the customers’ demand through its subsidiary unit, Whole Foods, now it cannot do so.
Whole Foods, which was acquired by Amazon for $13.7 billion in August 2017, has been expanding its operations both online and in physical stores amid the rapid surge of the demands from customers staying indoors. In a response to demand surge, the number of Whole Foods stores offering grocery pickup increased from 80 locations to more than 150 locations across the country to meet the surging demands. Currently, Amazon runs 487 Whole Foods stores in the US by providing limited services for customers.
However, some customers complained that they recently could not place their orders of grocery items from the giant e-commerce. Amazon explained the reason it was sue to a lack of available delivery slots and added that it would have to relegate all-new online grocery customers to a waitlist starting from Monday while the company was working to add on its capacity each week.
Amazon also announced to reduce the hours of shopping at Whole Foods stores for the public so that its employees could focus more on online grocery orders from the existing customers.
Expansion its Operational Capacity
The giant e-commerce retailer said that the demands for online grocery have increased by more than 60% during the outbreak while some of the existing users of Amazon Prime, its $119-a-year subscription service for US shoppers, have nevertheless complained about the scarcity of delivery windows.
With an aim to meet surging demands, the company announced its plans to hire more workers for the expansion of its operational capacity and launch a new feature that would help customers secure a virtual “place inline” to distribute the delivery windows on a first-come, first-served basis. Meanwhile, the company also offered higher pay to encourage its warehouse workers who had been working for its grocery delivery service.
Nevertheless, some employees at Whole Foods and Amazon warehouses have made complaints alleging that the company took less care for its workers which gained attention from authorities and workers’ unions. According to sources, over 50 Amazon fulfillment centers and several Whole Foods stores had confirmed COVID-19 cases earlier despite the company claimed that it has conducted daily employee temperature checks by providing masks and gloves to protect workers.
Stephenie Landry, vice president of Grocery at Amazon, wrote in a blog post, “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… If you are able to do so safely, we kindly encourage our customers who can shop in-person.”
I’m Roshan, a journalist, blogger and music lover. I like covering global news related to finance, business, and technology. Focusing on the collection of true and reliable information, I rely on working by conducting interviews with business leaders and talking to the inside sources of companies.
You can reach out to me at: [email protected]