I am quite sure that by now you all must be aware of the Covid-19, the novel Coronavirus that started in Wuhan in December 2019 has now become a Pandemic. It has infected more than 210000 people worldwide with total casualties crossing 9000. And the saddest part is that count is going up every second.
Coronavirus has adversely affected the global economy. Name any sector, be it hospitality, goods, airlines, transport, or any other, all are facing unprecedented lows.
But even in this grim situation has an unseen benefit for few industries. In this article, we are going to discuss the same.
Online Grocery delivery
Online Grocery delivery is one other business that has seen massive surge in the past couple of months. People in China are now going for online groceries to fulfil their daily food supply. As per the French retailer Carrefour, there has been an increase of 600% in the vegetable deliveries during the lunar New Year period. Moreover, the Chinese online retailer JD.com witnessed a growth of 215% year over year to a massive 15000 tons during a short period of 10-day starting from late Jan to early Feb.
This scenario is not only restricted to China, even in the US, the grocery delivery apps are witnessing record number of downloads. As per the data from Apptopia, various online grocery apps which include Walmart Grocery, Instacart, Shipt, and many others saw another record number of downloads.
If we compare the average daily downloads in February to March 15, then Shipt, Instacart, and Walmart Grocery have witnessed 124%, 218%, and 160% respectively.
Generally, this apps see around tens of thousands to 20k+ downloads in a day. But on 15th March, InstaCart recorded around 38,50 downloads. Similarly, Walmart Grocery witnessed nearly 54,000 downloads.
Mail and delivery services
Mail and delivery services have also been distressed due to COVID-19 pandemic. However, most of them are continuing to operate, although it has affected its delivery speed. U.S. Postal Service letter carriers carried on with their work of delivering mail from door-to-door across the region.
FedEx announced that they are sanitizing their equipment, whereas UPS continued to operate as per the local regulations.
A spokesperson from USPS said in a statement that the postal service is currently not facing any impacts on the operations due to the pandemic. However, they are reviewing contingency plans in case they are required.
According to the CDC, there’s a very low chance of coronavirus spreading via the products and packages that are shipped over numerous days due to poor survivability of the virus on surfaces.
The union comprises 1,400 area postal clerks, maintenance workers, and truck drivers. According to an official, they are in constant touch with the local authorities to ensure that there are enough cleaning facilities available at various branches.
Experts believe that restaurant companies and third-party delivery firms can boost their earnings by providing meals to the hungry self-isolated consumers.
Many companies such as Grubhub Inc., DoorDash Inc.and Uber can see a surge in food delivery orders as the majority of people would opt to stay at home and avoid travel. The restaurants companies are also adapting to the Pandemic situation.
As per Oppenheimer analyst Jason Helfstein, food delivery businesses can benefit from the surge in the orders as more and more people would be working from home and wouldn’t be encouraged to go to a crowded restaurant.
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi also suggested that UberEats could benefit from this situation as more and more people would stay indoors. Not only this, North American delivery company Grubhub.
Many of the food delivery companies across the globe are contactless delivery methods. Many companies like Postmates, DoorDash, Glovo, Just Eat, and Deliveroo, Zomato, Dominoz, and McDonald’s have introduced a zero-contact approach to their deliveries.
To avail these services, all the customers will have to select a new option on the application before they place an order.
In contactless delivery, the delivery person will keep the food in front of the customer’s doorstep to avoid the risk of infection. The delivery person will also wait outside to ensure that the order is collected.
Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. announced on 12th March that it’s going to offer free delivery from 15th March to the end of the month. They also announced to offer delivery options that will limit person-to-person contact. Moreover, they will also add tamper-evident packaging to ensure sealed deliveries.
Amazon to hire additional 100,000 employees
To meet the surge in demand from online shopping due to the coronavirus outbreak, Amazon has announced to hire an additional staff of 100,000 employees in the U.S.
Amazon is looking to hire extra part-time and full-time positions for both delivery workers and warehouse. They have also announced to hike the pay of these employees by $2 per hour in US, €2 per hour in EU countries, and £2 per hour in the UK. Currently, Amazon is paying around $15 per hour in a few areas of the U.S.
Amazon has been badly hit by the product shortages and delivery delays amid the coronavirus outbreak. The continuous spread of the pandemic has made people avoid going outside and heavily rely on the online retailers.
Amazon had said that many of their popular brands and items were out of stock, while many of them were taking longer to deliver than usual. This made them put a notice that reads: “Inventory and delivery may be temporarily unavailable due to increased demand. Confirm availability at checkout.”
Not only this, but the same-day or two-day delivery options available to their prime customers have also witnessed delay of several days.
Amazon is experiencing increased demand from the customers on several fronts as shoppers continue to stock up online, various services like Amazon Fresh grocery and Prime Now are reporting limited availability as the shoppers were unable to make deliveries.
Amazon has also relaxed its attendance policy for the warehouse workers, so that they can take unlimited unpaid time off for the month of March.
The company is also taking extra precautions at their various fulfilment centres by increasing the frequency of cleaning at all the sites. They have also informed their employees to sanitize and clean their vehicles and workstations at the start & end of all the shifts.
Amazon also has advised their employees worldwide to work from home until the end of March. This directive is applicable for all the employees at Amazon’s corporate offices.
The COVID-19 pandemic is spreading at an exponential rate throughout the world. It has affected businesses across the world in an unprecedented manner. Many industry verticals are finding ways to sustain this grim period. Whereas, delivery businesses are witnessing a high surge in the delivery orders. As the time passes, we’ll see new ways as to how this delivery business deals with this sudden increase in the order.