Amazon's problem with the demand for food products
The large digital monopoly benefits from the pandemic but suffers a logistical crisis to deliver food-related orders.
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If you are not yet a customer of Amazon Fresh's grocery delivery service or its Whole Foods supermarkets, you will now have to wait to access their services.
In a statement, Amazon announced some new policies to mitigate delivery problems in the face of the overwhelming demand experienced these days during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Not only are these problems of demand but there are also limitations in Amazon stores to follow social distancing and security protocols. For the time being, new customers for grocery delivery must register to receive an invitation. Amazon is also launching a feature for existing customers to secure an online location for first-come, first-served delivery.
The decision to have people wait in line to become an Amazon customer is a significant change for a company designed to attract new buyers while building loyalty in its service system. But Amazon already runs the risk of alienating current subscribers to its Prime membership program as more cracks appear in its normally fast and efficient logistics and delivery network.
Like other online food stores, Amazon has been put under tremendous strain by the large increase in shoppers who are observing social distancing patterns and avoiding stores during the pandemic. Food delivery times are mostly unavailable and stores will not open without notice, creating a sense of chaos and frustration for shoppers as they constantly check the web in hopes of placing their orders.
Amazon has taken several steps in recent weeks to keep up with the growing demand for its services. The company has delayed delivery times for non-essential items and announced that it will hire 75,000 new workers. These are in addition to the more than 100,000 it said it had hired since mid-March.
Having enough staff is critical for Amazon to keep operations running smoothly in its distribution centers. Many warehouse workers have expressed concerns about workplace safety, such as the lack of protective equipment, and up to 30% have stopped showing up for work in some cases, according to The New York Times. Amazon says it has responded with increased efforts to protect workers, however, this was not the case at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Last Tuesday, a company spokesperson confirmed the death of the first Amazon warehouse worker in California.