Online grocery sites going extra miles to fulfill orders amid pandemic
Major online shopping platforms are rushing to address the shortage of delivery staff due to the increasing number of residential complexes in Shanghai under quarantine.
Shoppers may have to wait one or two days after placing online orders for deliveries depending on regional supply situations.
Online grocery and fresh food sites including Meituan Maicai, Freshippo, Dada and Dingdong Maicai that usually promise one- or two-hour delivery time have delayed their schedule citing a temporary shortage of workers.
They have assured customers supplies are ample despite a temporary shortage of delivery riders.
Some have called for more part-time staff to tackle the surge of online orders.
Hana Jiang, who's been under lockdown for two days, said she finally managed to book a delivery for vegetables on Wednesday afternoon after trying to submit her order several times on various delivery platforms.
Freshippo said it has received around 300 part-time job applications in Shanghai from people who previously worked at canteens and entertainment venues, and there are still vacancies in districts such as Baoshan, Jiading, Minhang, Songjiang, Jinshan, Chongming and Fengxian, as well as the Pudong New Area.
Sam's Club said meat and vegetable supplies at its Shenzhen and Shanghai outlets are twice greater than usual.
Since January, the company has been formulating backup plans with four additional food suppliers to prepare for a potential surge in demand.
It has also added part-time positions to compensate for staffing shortages.
Delivery staff under quarantine have been volunteering in their communities.
An Qinghui has been delivering food orders for Meituan in Xuhui District for more than a year, and he's been volunteering in his residential complex.
"I've been helping elderly people register for nucleic acid tests and maintain order in the community so tests can be completed on time," he said.
Dozens of Meituan employees from Wuhan, Hubei Province, have temporarily relocated to Shanghai to help with order fulfillment. The company is also working with external partners to ensure enough manpower. All employees are fully vaccinated and nucleic acid test reports are required every 48 hours.
Meituan is providing anti-pandemic materials and daily necessities for staff who are under quarantine.
Shanghai-based Dada Group experienced a 34 percent increase in orders between March 7 and March 13. Orders for daily necessities and vegetables were 10 times greater than usual; fruit and dairy orders were six times greater than usual.
More than 90 percent of retail outlets connected to Dada's delivery and dispatch platform, including Walmart, Carrefour, City Supermarket, Aldi and Metro, are operating and handling online orders normally.