Are Amazon Prime delivery shoppers disrupting Whole Foods’ stores?
Amazon Prime delivery shoppers are reportedly crowding aisles, emptying shelves, ignoring safety rules and bothering busy associates as they scurry around Whole Foods stores fulfilling online orders.
That’s according to a report from Business Insider based on interviews with seven Whole Foods employees, including three managers, across six states.
A manager at one location called Prime workers “vultures” who “come in and pick every department clean.” The first arrive at 6:00 a.m., well before the 8:00 a.m. opening.
Another charge being made is that is many Prime shoppers often stare down into their phones, neglecting social distancing protocols and one-way aisle rules in their rush to compile orders.
Finally, Prime’s pick and packers were found to be continually pestering Whole Foods’ store staff with questions on item locations. A particular nuisance cited was Amazon.com’s policy of making delivery workers scan a QR code belonging to the Whole Foods associate if an item is out of stock. The stressors for Whole Foods’ associates are said to be exacerbated by under-staffing problems.
The problems may be temporary as Amazon’s grocery sales tripled in the second quarter. Pick-up at Whole Food locations that offer the service also tripled during the period, Amazon officials said on its quarterly conference call.
However, internal pick and pack personnel — as well as those from third-party delivery services such as Instacart — may become an even more common sight in aisles as households have grown more comfortable with online grocery delivery, BOPIS and curbside pickup during COVID-19. A recent study from Mercatus and Incisv predicted online grocery sales in the U.S. will grow more than 60 percent from pre-pandemic levels to 21.5 percent of sales by 2025.
Amazon said it expanded its grocery delivery capacity by more than 160 percent and tripled its number of grocery pickup sites. An Amazon spokesperson to Business Insider cited Amazon’s tests of “dark” stores, including the first Whole Foods-supported one’s recent opening in Brooklyn, among other steps being taken.
- ‘It’s like being in a sci-fi nightmare film’: Whole Foods employees say Amazon workers are crowding stores, ignoring virus protocols, and hounding them for help as online orders surge – Business Insider
- Whole Foods Workers Say Amazon Prime Shoppers Are ‘Vultures’ Overwhelming Stores – Eater
- Amazon.com Announces Second Quarter Results – Amazon.com
- Amazon (AMZN) Q2 2020 Earnings Call Transcript – The Motley Fool
- Online to make up 21.5 percent of grocery’s sales in five years – RetailWire
- Online Grocery Sales Projected to Reach $250B by 2025, According to New Research From Mercatus and Incisiv – Mercatus/Business Wire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see the increased presence of pick and pack shoppers in aisles putting a bigger strain on associates or customers in stores? Do you see the potential for customers’ in-store experiences to suffer as more online order shoppers are deployed to stores?