Do Gig Drivers Really Know Their Way Around A Store?
Amazon is looking into recruiting gig workers to shop and deliver groceries for online orders of Whole Foods Market customers.
The Shop and Deliver program allow drivers to easily sign up by reviewing an online tutorial about the process of picking, packing, and handling Whole Foods products, and scoring a passing grade on a quiz.
The program is modeled after Amazon Flex, an initiative that relies on independent contractors to deliver packages.
Issues with the Program
Several issues have been raised by grocery industry watchers, saying “by entrusting gig workers to put orders together for Whole Foods customers, Amazon is potentially increasing the risk that items could be damaged, spoiled or delivered late that is inherent in grocery e-commerce,” according to GroceryDive’s Sam Silverstein.
Former Walmart executive and e-commerce expert who runs Tomorrow Retail Consulting, Jordan Berke, also expressed concern that “delivery from A to B is a beautiful on-demand task because it’s very straightforward, very repeatable and you don’t need a lot of training, [but] tasks in stores are often much more complicated.”
However, some also believe that “a person that comes to your store once a day or once every two days to pick two orders is always learning, while a person that picks 50 orders five days a week has a better opportunity to become familiar with the lay of the land inside a grocery store, and is more likely to know where items are located and how they should be handled.”
The Good News
Online grocery shopping is growing and expected to grow from $38 million in 2018 to nearly $60 billion by 2023. The industry forerunners are Amazon and Walmart, but a lot of companies are joining in the race.
There will be a lot more competition and choices to make, but the upside for consumers is the companies will continue to find ways to keep prices low.
Tom Furphy, former Amazon vice president of consumables and Amazon Fresh, said that “they’re always going to look for ways to keep their cost of service as low as possible, and always look for ways to be super responsive in fulfilling customer demand.
Those are three constants that will always exist as long as Amazon’s around, and they will absolutely look to deliver on that in the grocery environment.”
Editor’s note on the news about the Amazon Gig Workers for Whole Foods Grocery Delivery:
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