Online Grocery Delivery Is Overbooked. Here's What Companies Are Doing About It.

Trying to get food delivered during coronavirus, but can't snag a time slot? Companies like Amazon Fresh and Instacart appear to be taking measures to fix that.

In the coronavirus era, buying your groceries via an online delivery service feels a lot like the lottery meets “The Hunger Games” meets utter stress.

So what are companies doing about it? Well, the short answer is that it’s a work in progress, but Amazon Fresh, Walmart Grocery and others are trying to streamline the process.

Here’s the longer answer:

Amazon Fresh

The brand told HuffPost that it has seen an increase in people shopping online and is “working with suppliers and distributors to ensure we’re getting products customers need.”

“We are also hiring over 100,000 positions across the US, including for grocery delivery, enabling us to add delivery windows and get grocery orders to customers quickly,” an Amazon Fresh spokesperson said via email.


The largest grocery delivery network in North America announced earlier this week that it would be bringing on “an additional 300,000 full-service shoppers across North America over the next 3 months to meet the increasing customer demand for online grocery delivery and pickup in the U.S. and Canada.”

A spokesperson said that in the last few weeks, Instacart has “seen the highest customer demand in company history” and is focusing on states with the most customer demand, including California, New York, Texas, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Jersey, Georgia, and Ohio.

Walmart Grocery

The brand said it has seen an increase in pickup and delivery orders, as well as more customers at Walmart stores. The company acknowledged that while it has had to “cancel a number of orders due to item availability,” it’s “offering time slots to customers for as soon as the same day and up to one day in advance, rather than time frames further out.”

“This is a shorter window than we typically offer, but it will allow us to better serve our customers during this busy time,” said Charles Crowson, senior manager of corporate communications, who added that the company plans to hire 150,000 new associates in stores, clubs, distribution centers and fulfillment centers.

Fresh Direct

The brand said in a tweet over the weekend that it is working “tirelessly” to open more slots for users.

On Tuesday, Fresh Direct announced it would be part of a program that delivers 2,000 boxes of food a day, Monday through Friday, to families in need across the five boroughs of New York City.


Delivering both food and non-food items, Postmates says it has recently launched non-contact deliveries and is “offering reduced delivery fees—often during peak lunch hours—making on-demand delivery more accessible during this challenging time.”

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