Amazon expands grocery delivery capacity in response to demand
Amazon is adding more capacity to its online grocery business, Amazon Fresh. It announced Wednesday that it is "working around the clock with suppliers" to get critical grocery items to customers amid the Covid-19 crisis.
In a blogpost update, the company explained the specific steps it's taking to ensure that pantry and fresh items will be made available and remain in stock for its e-commerce platform as demand has spiked for online food orders.
The global company said that as it is "closely monitoring the impact of Covid-19", it has seen a large increase in online shopping for groceries. Such a spike in demand has caused the company to reevaluate its capacity to supply resources for delivery options and stock.
Along with announcing that it will temporarily prioritize food items, household staples and other high-demand things for its grocery delivery business, it said that purchase limits are set for certain products.
Stressing that customers can choose the "unattended delivery" option for its online grocery delivery, the company highlighted that - with the exception of alcohol orders - shoppers don't have to come into contact with their delivery people.
Amazon's physical supermarkets have also adjusted their store hours - including the Amazon-owned Whole Foods Market stores - to extend services to customers in older age during particular hours.
Amazon Go stores, the cashier-less model stores in Chicago, New York and San Francisco have been closed until April 7, 2020, it further explained.
This measure is becoming even more common across the supermarket industry (Walmart, Target and Costo have similarly implemented "senior hour" for shoppers 60 and up in age) as a precautionary step to protect vulnerable populations.
The largest e-commerce retailer worldwide, it has made big changes in its warehouses, logistical networks and stores in the past couple of weeks. Responding to the Covid-19 pandemic's impact on business and consumer demand, the company emphasized that it continues sanitation efforts in the supply chain both to prevent the spread throughout its workers and to the wider public.
New Covid-19 guidelines for sanitation in stores
In the retailer's list of recent measures taken to address the virus's impact, it detailed that it has introduced "enhanced cleanliness and sanitation protocols" across facilities nationwide. Further, it has instituted a social distancing guideline in its stores to encourage shoppers and employees to maintain a safe distance so as to stop the spread.
Similar to other retailers' efforts in physical stores, Amazon is increasing the number of locations that have hand sanitizer stations available to shoppers and workers.
Apart from hour changes and the expansion of online grocery priorities, the retail giant has prohibited the use of personal, reusable containers by customers in its stores, has suspended all food and product sampling, closed all self-serve stations and has taken away indoor and outdoor seatings at its stores across the U.S.