In the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, finding an open slot for grocery delivery was like winning the lottery. Even when shoppers were lucky enough to lock one in, food and cleaning supplies were often out of stock and there were delivery delays ranging from hours to days.

It has gotten easier since then.

Companies that have online grocery businesses — those that offer curbside pickup, at-home delivery or both — hired more employees to deal with the higher demand they saw and have since kept those workers around. They have also expanded their shipping capacity. And though demand for grocery delivery is still elevated compared to pre-Covid times it has cooled since the pandemic first hit.

But with winter coming, and cases rising in a majority of states, you may be wondering whether — should you be again restricted from going out, or if case levels have risen to the point in your community that you feel uncomfortable going into a store —you’ll have better luck getting groceries delivered, on time and with all the items you wanted, than you did in the spring. The answer, due to that work the companies have done: Probably. But no guarantees.

Companies like Amazon, which also owns Whole Foods, will try to make it easier for customers to find open delivery slots this winter.

Companies ranging from regional chain Hy-Vee to Boxed, a site that sells bulk orders directly to consumers, are staffing up in stores and warehouses to handle delivery and curbside pickup orders; stockpiling extra inventory like cleaning supplies, holiday foods and canned goods; adding new delivery carriers to avoid shipping delays; and making changes to their websites to try to give shoppers more windows to order.

That doesn’t necessarily mean everything will go smoothly for consumers.

Source: CNN Business