Online grocery shopping on rise in Louisiana during coronavirus; pickup, delivery services strained | Coronavirus

Louisiana shoppers are buying groceries online at a pace that puts a strain on pickup and delivery services as customers try to dodge other people during the coronavirus pandemic.

At Alexander’s Highland Market, which has been offering pick-up and delivery services in Baton Rouge for two years, the number of orders has increased from eight to ten per day to 120, said owner Lathan Alexander.

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The store completed pickups in two hours. The visitors to the store website on Thursday afternoon were informed that their orders could not be picked up until Monday afternoon.

As for delivery, Alexander said he cut this out when the Louisiana pandemic broke out because he knew the store wouldn’t be able to keep up with orders.

“We only have one delivery vehicle,” he said. “I expect to offer this service now, we would need 20.”

Starting Monday, Alexander will partner with Waitr, the Louisiana-based grocery and delivery company.

Alexander has also doubled the store’s roadside pick-up service, hired 12-15 people, and filled orders around the clock. A crew takes care of the order fulfillment during normal business hours. Another group comes in from 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and takes care of the requests that come in overnight.

“The overwhelming response from customers has been a satisfaction for us to do,” said Alexander. “You have patience and understanding and it really takes a leap in our step. We feel really humble. “

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Waitr, based in Lake Charles and having large offices in Lafayette, partnered with several local grocers to offer supplies during the pandemic.

Next week, Waitr will be working with local farmers markets to deliver fresh produce, said Dean Turcol, a company spokesman. This will help the farmers by putting their products in the hands of the customers. Turcol said the service was still able to offer same-day delivery of groceries.

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In the US, grocery shopping was slow to migrate online, accounting for 3% of grocery retailing, according to a 2019 report by Deutsche Bank.

When the pandemic hit, delivery orders soared as millions of Americans stayed at home. In the week of March 2, before some cities and states placed stay-at-home orders, Instacart, Amazon, and Walmart grocery sales were up at least two-thirds year-over-year, according to Earnest Research.

Orders have increased 150% in the past few weeks, according to Instacart, a platform that works with more than 25,000 stores in North America.

Tony Matherne, co-owner of Matherne’s Markets in Baton Rouge, Paulina and LaPlace, said pick-up and delivery orders have increased “tremendously”.

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While no additional staff were hired to cope with the surge in online orders, staff were transferred from departments that were closed due to the pandemic or whose demand has plummeted, such as: B. the salad bar, the deli and the catering. “We kept the orders pretty well,” said Matherne. “We’re still filling them up in a day or two.”

For example, orders placed on Thursday afternoon could be picked up from Matherne on Friday.

Craig St. Pierre, who owns DeLaune’s supermarket, said its St. Amant store has grown from two or three pick-up or delivery orders a week to 20-25 a day.

“It takes four people all day to draw these orders and make sure they are correct,” he said. “Our biggest challenge, however, is making sure things are still in stock.”

DeLaune’s has teamed up with DoorDash to handle the deliveries. The software limits the number of orders that can be placed at one time so the store is always able to process the incoming volume.

At Walmart, the retail giant has taken steps to control the number of pickups to make things easier for overcrowded stores. Instead of letting customers schedule deliveries for up to a week, the window has been reduced to two days. This has caused the spots to fill up quickly.

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To ensure orders come in, Walmart suggests putting them online between midnight and 2 a.m.

“We were able to open a number of positions by extending our hours to 8 am to 8 pm a day,” said Walmart spokeswoman Anne Hatfield. “Customers will soon be able to book seats three days in advance. While it’s still a shorter window than usual, it allows us to better serve our customers in this unprecedented time. “

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