Grocery delivery services are experiencing delays as they receive a larger number of orders due to widespread COVID-19 concerns.
Customers of Amazon Fresh, ShopRite at Home, Peapod, Instacart, and others are having a hard time putting in orders as many say the closest delivery time slots are days away or unavailable altogether.
Susan Komissaroff Fleisch, who lives in a 55 and over community in Monroe, said she tried to order unsuccessfully on both Instacart and PrimeNow.
“After completing each order when I tried to checkout [the] app reported they had no available time slots and to try again another day,” she said.
Linda Coulter, of Westfield, said she has tried Amazon Fresh, Peapod, and ShopRite from Home to get her groceries. The only available slot is through Peapod on March 28 in the afternoon.
“It’s making me much more aware of what I have in my house and that I can get by for a while. Hopefully, as time goes on, the demand will lessen,” Coulter said.
Coulter’s order includes Lysol disinfecting spray, liquid Cascade dish detergent, antibacterial dish soap, and a few specific food items (“most importantly Thomas’ toast-r-cakes,” she said), but right now none of it is in stock.
If those items aren’t available by March 28 on Peapod, she plans to cancel her order.
“In the meantime, I’ll keep trying Amazon Fresh and ShopRite from Home because they actually had what I wanted,” she said, including fresh fruits and vegetables.
A shopper named Cecelia told NJBIZ that she has also had issues with her online orders to Target, placing several orders between March 12 and 15 for things that the website said were in stock, such as hand soap, laundry detergent, a package of paper towels, bandaids and antibiotic cream.
“Little by little, all of my items were cancelled. I wasn’t order[ing] massive amounts either, one of each item,” she shared.
She has a ShopRite pickup order set for Thursday at 9 a.m. that she put in on Saturday, she said, and is “hopeful that everything or as close to everything will be available.”
Supply and demand
At ShopRite, the demand for online shopping services is at an all-time high, according to spokesperson Karen O’Shea. The retailer has added capacity to respond to increased traffic on the website and is encouraging customers to use its ShopRite from Home mobile app.
For delivery orders, ShopRite drivers will call or text customers when they’re on their way and drop off groceries at their doors unattended.
“Our in-store ShopRite from Home shoppers are doing their best to fill online orders accurately and on time, but we are asking customers to be patient and understanding as we try our best to serve them,” O’Shea said of potential delays.
Deana Percassi echoed an increase in e-commerce business at Wegmans, where she is director of public relations, and said that grocery delivery and curbside pickup times are limited due to high demand, and orders are often taking longer to be shopped.
“We encourage customers to keep checking the available windows, as they do open up,” Percassi said.
Stop & Shop has temporarily suspended its pickup services according to Director of External Communications and Community Relations Jennifer Brogan, citing unprecedented demand and product shortages in some areas.
“Our store associates will instead focus on stocking products and other key priorities that will better meet the needs of all customers at this time,” she said.
Delays with home delivery are also due to “extremely high demand,”Brogan said, noting that Stop & Shop employees are working hard to ensure customers can receive orders when they need them.
According to new data from app store intelligence firm Apptopia, U.S. downloads of grocery delivery apps have been seeing record-setting numbers of downloads daily. Compared to their average daily downloads in February, March 15 downloads of Instacart, Walmart Grocery, and Shipt surged by 218 percent, 160 percent, and 124 percent respectively.