As it continues adapting to the coronavirus pandemic, Amazon is expanding and updating how consumers can access its grocery operations while hiring additional workers to pace demand.
Amazon said it is hiring to fill 75,000 additional jobs after bringing on more than 100,000 new associates in from mid February through to mid March.
The company previously said that it would invest more than $350 million globally to increase pay for and otherwise support employees during the pandemic and would hire an additional 100,000 people in full and part-time jobs to keep as many people as possible working during the COVID-19 crisis. Amazon continues to see increased demand prompting the additional 75,000-person hire and now expects investment in pay increases and related employee benefits and safety measures to top $500 million.
The company has also expanded its Whole Foods Market grocery pickup from about 80 stores to more than 150 and will continue to quickly expand the service over the coming weeks. The company is adjusting store hours for select Whole Foods Market locations to focus exclusively on fulfilling online grocery orders during this time. In addition, Amazon opened a Woodland Hills, CA, grocery store as a temporary online-only store, focused exclusively on fulfilling grocery delivery orders.
Amazon is temporarily asking new Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market delivery and pickup customers to sign up for an invitation to use online grocery delivery and pickup. Amazon pointed out that it is releasing delivery windows throughout the day and has made it easier for customers to see when the next delivery window is available by including it on the Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market online home pages.
To maintain social distancing, Amazon plans to launch a new feature over the coming weeks that will allow customers to secure a time to shop. The service also will provide delivery customers a virtual place in line and allow Amazon to distribute delivery windows on a first come, first serve basis.