Amazon is struggling to keep up with a spike in demand for home deliveries as the continuing spread of coronavirus sparks panic buying.
Prime Now and Amazon Fresh delivery services are being stretched to breaking point leading Amazon to warn customers of their “limited availability”.
Amazon posted a notice to Prime Now shoppers in Seattle, New York City, the San Francisco Bay Area, Orlando, Chicago, Miami, Boston and other areas as early as Monday this week informing them of limited delivery availability.
@AmazonHelp iam prime member order placed two days.
but no shipping unable tracking details worst services to Amazon.
iam last two times cancelled my orders delay delivery but no response and neglancy prime customers to Amazon.
So please don't buy amazon prime.
— Narsimha Reddy (@NarsimhaReddy05) March 2, 2020
We tried an experiment yesterday here in Seattle area. Put in a food order with Amazon Prime's grocery service. Several items out of stock, earliest delivery Tuesday. We'll run one of these every three days and record any delays and post them here. Alternate metric.#coronavirus
— 8bit Covid Fatalist (@GephenS) March 2, 2020
According to CNBC, customers in Redland, Washington have been unable to place Prime Now orders for two days, while several items including toilet paper and antibacterial wipes.
It has also placed quantity limits on some items like bottle water restricting users from adding more than two units of the product to each order.
“We are experiencing an increase in demand for Prime Now and are working hard to increase delivery availability,” Amazon told CNBC.
According to UK home delivery experts ParcelHero ecommerce purchases are likely to double to 40 per cent of all retail sales should the virus become an epidemic in the UK.
It has warned retailers to prepare for a sudden surge in online orders which could last as long as eight weeks if the virus takes a foothold in Britain.
“Retailers of all sizes must take stock of their online sales capability and consult with their logistics teams and partner courier networks to be prepared for a significant jump in home deliveries,” ParcelHero’s head of consumer research David Jinks said.
“This is not a case of profiteering during a potential emergency, it is just switching the way they meet normal consumer demands. In fact, it seems sales on the whole will decline during the virus peak period, as people will have other things on their minds besides shopping, but the overall home delivery portion of all sales is likely to double.”