Amazon gave consumers a heads up weeks in advance that they would be prioritizing “essential purchases.” What is considered an essential purchase is up to the discretion of the retailer. As the home delivery retailer mammoth looks to get essential products into the hands of those that need them, delays on non-essential items can be anywhere from 2-4 weeks.
USPS has been continuing to provide uninterrupted services to consumers to the best of their ability. They have even offered the ability to print shipping labels at home and contact a local post office to request that a parcel employee be dispatched to pick it up and deliver it where it needs to go. This service has been critical as family members look to ship items to one another. For example, if one family member found toilet paper at their local store and another could not, consumers are shipping products to each other in an attempt to help one another.
Despite the USPS’s valiant efforts to continue to provide services, the federal government denied them access to the $50B bailout and $25B in loans they requested to keep their services steady. If the government does not come to a revised agreement to support the USPS, they have forecasted that they will run out of money by June of this year.
Beyond standard shipping companies, grocery delivery services such as Fresh Direct, Whole Foods via Amazon, Instacart, Shipt, etc. are completely overloaded. Instead of having to wait a day or two for grocery delivery, consumers are alarmed to find that they can’t even place an order. Rather, after placing all the items in their cart, they receive a notification that no shoppers are available to assist them. Despite trying day after day, the same error message is shown.
All in all, things are getting pretty dicey as consumers look to get the products they need. Sure, consumers can still physically go to stores to get items, but are hesitant to do so during the apex of the virus. Knowing consumers are up against this struggle, what can delivery services and/or brands do to improve customer experience and maintain a steady purchase flow of products?
Consumers are in need of guidance on how to shop differently and are at maximum consideration for shopping in a new way. This is an incredible opportunity to come out as a hero amidst the chaos and help convert consumer purchase behaviors that may have lasting impact well beyond COVID-19.