SEATTLE, Wash. – Amazon’s grocery delivery services have become popular as people practice social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic, so popular that you may have to wait a while if you want to sign up.
The company announced in a blog post Sunday that it’s temporarily asking new Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market delivery and pickup customers to sign up for an invitation to use the services. New customers will be invited to shop every week as the company increases its capacity.
The waitlist is part of a list of measures that Amazon is putting in place to address the unprecedented demand for grocery delivery.
Additionally, Amazon has expanded Whole Foods Market grocery pickup from about 80 stores to more than 150, and it plans to continue to expand in the coming weeks.
The company says it has also hired more than 100,000 people since March 16, including grocery delivery personnel, to help meet the increased demand. And, it’s investing over $500 million to support workers and partners during the crisis.
“Ramping hiring enables us to more quickly receive, restock, and deliver products to customers and continue increasing delivery window availability,” wrote Amazon in the blog.
Also, Amazon says it will adjust store hours for select Whole Foods Market locations to focus exclusively on fulfilling online grocery orders during this time.
Despite the changes made by Amazon, it can still be challenging for customers to find available delivery windows. To help, Amazon says it will launch a new feature in the coming weeks 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,” wrote Amazon. “Simultaneously, we will continue to add capacity as swiftly as possible.”