A big surge in orders isn’t the only reason Amazon is struggling to keep up
It’s been clear for weeks that Amazon faces an unprecedented challenge in coping with the fallout from COVID-19. With tens of millions of Americans now dependent on online delivery for their food, medicine, and other essential items, the nation’s No. 1 e-commerce company is buckling under increased demand. And as fulfillment center employees are diagnosed with the virus across the country, Amazon’s already-restive workforce has escalated its efforts to win better pay and safer working conditions. Among other things, employees at affected locations have simply walked off the job.
You’ve likely felt the affects of the crisis on Amazon if you attempted to order anything from the company in March. Once lightning-fast delivery times stretched into days and weeks. In the case of grocery deliveries in San Francisco, Amazon had no available slots for Tuesday or Wednesday.
Still, we really don’t know how badly Amazon is stretched. The company continues to communicate via carefully worded statements to a handful of reporters, and CEO Jeff Bezos has been absent from public life aside from one leaked memo and a pair of lengthily captioned Instagram photos.
Fortunately, the Wall Street Journal is here to shed some light. Reporter Dana Mattioli and Sebastian Herrera lay out the company’s struggles today in a must-read piece that brings new data to the conversation. They write:
Amazon has been processing from 10% to 40% more packages than normal for this time of year, according to an employee tally at one delivery center. The company’s website had 639,330,722 visits for the week of March 9, according to data from Comscore, up 32% from the year earlier.