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Online Grocery Services Scramble to Keep Up Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Online grocery services are experiencing a surge in orders but are having a hard time suddenly meeting the demand.  “I won’t be panicking for another week, but if I’ve got to wait another two weeks for a delivery slot it’s going to be very close to the bone,” said one customer of the online-only UK supermarket Ocado. The grocer reports that it is taking 10 times as many orders as usual.

Research shows that in the week of March 2, Instacart, Amazon, and Walmart grocery delivery sales all spiked at least two-thirds from last year. Instacart, with partnerships in 25,000 stores across North America, has seen orders spike 150 percent. As a result of the surge in orders, customers are having to wait longer for time slots to become available and deliveries to happen. “No matter how hard we work, we will not have enough capacity to serve the unprecedented levels of demand,” said Ocado CEO Melanie Smith, saying that every new restriction has brought a spike in online ordering.


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