Grocery Delivery Services Adapt To Keep Up With Demand During The Coronavirus

On the latest episode of Simplr® CXLife Today:

In an effort to improve current systems to keep up with a spike in demand, Instacart has rolled out two new features to add speed and flexibility for customers.

On a call with analysts, the CEO of Bed Bath & Beyond, Mark Tritton, said they sold off its One King Lane banner to an unnamed third party. The retailer acquired the home decor site in 2016. He didn’t disclose how much the banner sold for on the call. It’s one of the retailer’s latest moves in responding to the effects the coronavirus has had on business. While store closures have hit the retailer, some of its banners that are deemed essential have remained open. BuyBuy Baby launched curbside pickup at the beginning of the month and fulfilled over 11,000 orders during the first week.

While movie theatres have been crippled by the coronavirus and social distancing measures, streaming services have seen a spike in demand. The Starz app has seen a 142% increase in new customers since the stay-at-home orders began and a 44% increase in average viewership. Similarly, Disney’s streaming service, Disney+ announced it now had more than 50 million subscribers, twice the amount reported in February.

Procter & Gamble reported that its fiscal third-quarter U.S. sales surged 10% as consumers stocked up on staples like toilet paper and paper towels. Net sales rose 5% to over $17 billion. Jon Moeller, both the CEO and CFO of Procter & Gamble, said that the coronavirus pandemic could change consumer behavior permanently when it comes to certain products.

Grocery Delivery Services Scramble To Support Increased Demand

Instacart debuted two new features to speed up its service and add flexibility amid the coronavirus pandemic. With the company’s fast and flexible feature, customers can choose to have their order delivered by the first available shopper, rather than selecting a specific delivery window. The new order-ahead feature will let customers place orders up to two weeks in advance. Previously they could only place an order up to seven days in advance.

The features are an answer to some of the frustrations customers have expressed during a time the service is seeing a spike in demand. Other delivery services like FreshDirect, Amazon Fresh, and Shipt have all seen challenges during the pandemic, with the demand for grocery delivery skyrocketing. Instacart’s CEO said in a statement that the demand they’ve seen in the past few weeks was what the company expected to see in the next two to four years. The company has seen a 300% increase in customer volume year over year and has added over 150,000 additional shoppers to its pool of contractors in the past two weeks.

While these grocery delivery services are working to adapt their systems to the current circumstances and staffing up as quickly as possible, it is taking time to deal with the strain on their existing systems and course correct.