Demand for online grocery shopping has exploded during the coronavirus pandemic, and Amazon straight-up can’t keep up right now.

While Amazon works to staff up its grocery pickup and delivery operations, new online shoppers for Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market are being placed on a waiting list.

Here’s what’s happening:


New Amazon online grocery shoppers have to wait for an invitation to shop.

In a blog post to customers this week, Amazon announced that they’re asking all of their new online grocery shoppers to sign up for an invitation to use delivery and pickup.

There are three different types of grocery shopping with Amazon, and all are impacted:

  • Whole Foods Market offers online delivery and pickup for that chain
  • Amazon Fresh has online grocery delivery for its branded grocery store
  • Amazon Prime Now offers groceries and some products from both of those stores, plus the company’s warehouses in 2 hours or less in 94 metropolitan areas across the U.S. (free for orders of $35 or more)


Amazon will make invitations to new customers weekly, as capacity improves.

Amazon said it has been aggressively hiring new grocery workers and is increasing their capacity every week. They say their overall order capacity has grown by more than 60% since the coronavirus outbreak; however, that hasn’t been enough.

Amazon says they will assess capabilities every week and will make new invitations to those customers on waiting lists based on that capacity.



The waiting list also applies to new Prime Now customers.

Think you can get around the waiting list by placing a 2-hour Prime Now order with a bunch of Whole Foods groceries? It won’t work.

The Prime Now page now has a pop-up inviting shoppers to sign up for the Whole Foods waiting list.


Existing Amazon customer? You may still have to wait.

If you’re an existing Amazon customer but have never made an online grocery shopping order with Amazon Fresh, Prime Now, or Whole Foods, you’ll have to join the waiting list.

Amazon says it’s opening up delivery windows throughout the day for existing customers, and is making those windows visible on the Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market homepages.

If you’re not in a big hurry, though, Subscribe & Save is always an option.


But hey, at least you can place an Amazon Pantry order again.

About a month ago, Amazon shut down its Amazon Pantry service — which gives customers the ability to save money on individual nonperishable grocery items and household products by assembling them into a box.

Earlier this month, Amazon reopened Pantry, as they were able to keep up with the demand again.

If the Amazon Pantry timeline is any indication, we should be seeing unhindered access to Amazon Fresh, Prime Now, and Whole Foods online orders in the coming weeks.


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