Technology to the Rescue for Food Purchasing Stability

Amazon and Instacart add capacity; Schnucks experiments with shopping reservations

The Lempert Report

Schnucks has added a grocery shopping reservation system that allows you to select an available time to go grocery shopping, which insures that the store is not overcrowded and keeps the customer count to a reasonable level for the safety of shoppers and their workers.

For home delivery, Instacart reports it has hired an additional 150,000 workers and is still looking to add more as wait time for delivery in some areas is at the 4-5 day wait time. They added a “fast and flexible” option, which searches for workers that are available (perhaps based on those who pick and deliver faster than others) and wind up with an open window. I tried that and was able to cut the wait time down from four days to less than 24 hours.

And then there is Amazon, the company that spoiled us all with expectations of same day, and in some cases a couple hour delivery. Their demand has been so substantially increased that their website has a disclaimer: “We’re temporarily prioritizing the delivery of some items in order to serve our customers in need and ensure the safety of our associates. As a result, some delivery times are longer than usual.”

And then a couple of weeks ago Amazon said it's requiring new customers that want to order groceries, either directly from Amazon or Whole Foods that have not previously ordered from them to "sign up for an invitation" to help it handle the demand crush.

Amazon explained in a blog post that it recently boosted order capacity by 60% in recent weeks and is adding more. According to CNN, among the other changes Amazon is implementing in the coming weeks includes giving delivery customers a "virtual place in line" to shop so the company can distribute demand.

And the long-anticipated new concept Amazon grocery store that was set to open in March in Woodland Hills, Calif., has been converted to a warehouse to process online orders in the meantime.


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