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Amazon Puts New Online Grocery Customers on a Waiting List

By Rich Duprey – Apr 13, 2020 at 4:16PM

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Online grocers see boom as stores limit shopping hours and number of customers allowed inside.

With more supermarkets limiting the number of customers allowed inside and people being pressured more to stay at home, shoppers are increasingly turning to online grocery outlets. Demand is so great, though, that Amazon.com (AMZN 1.20%) is having difficulty filling orders in a timely manner, so it is now putting new customers on a waiting list.

To help ameliorate the congestion, Stephenie Landry, Amazon's grocery VP, wrote in a company blog post on Sunday that "in the coming weeks, we will launch a new feature that will allow customers to secure time to shop. This feature will give delivery customers a virtual 'place in line' and will allow us to distribute the delivery windows on a first come, first served basis."

Online shopping cart on smartphone

Image source: Getty Images.

Online grocery sales are booming. Data analytics firm 1010data found online grocery sales at Walmart (NYSE: WMT) jumped 21% in March from February, and had doubled from 2019. 

Amazon has had to prioritize its shipping program to focus first on essential goods, which has led to shipment delays, but that has also carried over into its grocery business, where it suspended Prime Pantry delivery service for non-perishable groceries last month.

The e-commerce giant has gone on a hiring spree to meet the overflow of demand its witnessing, bringing on some 100,000 new employees, and at Whole Foods Market, it reportedly plans to limit store hours so employees are able to restock shelves better.

Amazon also suspended a third-party delivery service that it was just beginning to ramp up to compete against FedEx and UPS, and it has also postponed its annual Prime Day shopping extravaganza from July to August at the earliest.

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Rich Duprey has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon and FedEx and recommends the following options: short January 2022 $1940 calls on Amazon and long January 2022 $1920 calls on Amazon. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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