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Amazon Overwhelmed By Coronavirus-Related Grocery Orders

By Daniel B. Kline - Mar 16, 2020 at 1:12PM

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The online retailer has been hit by very heavy demand.

Amazon.com (AMZN 3.58%) has changed consumer perceptions about when orders will be delivered. The company almost never goes out of stock on an entire category, and it's a retailer that consumers are sure will just have what they need.

That has not been the case during the past few days as heavy demand has stressed the company's supply chain. That has led to many items being unavailable or in scarce supply, including toiler paper, hand sanitizer, and some pantry basics. Amazon has been ht particularly hard by consumers turning to it for same-day grocery delivery, which it offers through multiple services.

A stack of Amazon boxes outside a door.

Amazon has a number of different delivery services including one that brings items into your home. Image source: Getty Images.

How bad is Amazon being hit?

The company acknowledged that a "systems impact" had impacted its ability to deliver grocery orders from Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market, The Seattle Times reported. 

"We're contacting customers, issuing concessions, and are working around the clock to quickly resolve the issue," the spokesperson told the newspaper.

Amazon has been dealing with unprecedented demand. As people are being asked to stay home and limit public gatherings, the need for grocery delivery has spiked. These problems are not unique to the digital leader -- most, if not all, of its rivals have experienced similar problems.

What happens next?

Amazon has to address the concerns and the public has to accept that this crisis is not business as usual. Consumers may have to accept slower delivery or that some orders will arrive incomplete while the retail giant works to get items in stock and improve its technology as well as its process.

As the coronavirus pandemic progresses, demand will likely remain high but be less panicked. That should allow Amazon to adjust in order to better serve its customers.

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