Technology

Amazon puts new Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods delivery customers on waitlist amid surging demand

New customers signing up for Amazon Fresh or Whole Foods Market home delivery will now need to make it through a waitlist before they can order groceries. Amazon announced the new procedure yesterday, adding that the company is “increasing capacity each week and will invite new customers to shop every week.” Select Whole Foods locations will have store hours adjusted “to focus exclusively on fulfilling online grocery orders during this time,” and Amazon notes that its own full-fledged grocery store is now open in Woodland Hills, California, but is solely focused on online orders and delivery for now.

Delivery windows for Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market have been increasingly difficult to secure during the COVID-19 pandemic, and Amazon says it’s coming up with a system that should at least bring more order to the situation.

“In the coming weeks, we will launch a new feature that will allow customers to secure time to shop,” the company said in a blog post. “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.” Amazon acknowledges that despite its continued efforts to add more capacity, customers will still likely have a tough time finding a delivery window. It’s at least trying to make available slots more visible by putting that information right on the Amazon Fresh homepage.

In a separate update this morning, Amazon announced it has already hired the 100,000 workers it pledged to bring on last month to help meet customer demand. “Today, we are proud to announce that our original 100,000 jobs pledge is filled and those new employees are working at sites across the US helping to serve customers.”

Now, Amazon claims it will hire another 75,000 people during “this unprecedented time.”

We know many people have been economically impacted as jobs in areas like hospitality, restaurants, and travel are lost or furloughed as part of this crisis and we welcome anyone out of work to join us at Amazon until things return to normal and their past employer is able to bring them back.

Amazon also said that it expects to spend $500 million (instead of the $350 million originally stated) on pay increases for the employees putting themselves at risk to get food and other essential items out to millions of people. Amazon’s main online store continues to prioritize speedy delivery of household items, with shipping timeframes for most other products extended into May at this point.