Woolworths' innovative home delivery revamp amid coronavirus

Woolworths has not only reopened home delivery to regular customers but has ramped up its capacity in a bid to cope with the ongoing surge in demand amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In an announcement on Wednesday, following Coles’ decision this week to reopen its home delivery to all customers, Woolworths said it had ensured “tens of thousands” of customers would benefit from increasing its capacity.

“We’re seeing a big increase in demand for home delivery as more and more customers seek to limit their outings in the community,” WooliesX Managing Director Amanda Bardwell said.

“While our first priority remains the most vulnerable in the community, we can now serve more of our regular online customers, including Delivery Unlimited subscribers, as well.”

Home delivery has recommenced for all customers, Woolworths has announced, and is supported by two last-mile couriers. Source: Woolworths
Home delivery has resumed for all customers, Woolworths has announced, and is supported by two last-mile couriers. Source: Woolworths

Woolworths is working in partnership with last-mile couriers Sherpa and Yello to help with the enormous load of orders. The move has added a further 5000 delivery drivers to Woolworths’ operation.

Supermarket staff will hand pick those particular orders which are capped at 40 items and will be delivered no later than the following day.

Woolworths says the increase in its existing home delivery network has doubled its capacity over the past month.

The supermarket giant has also established a Pop-Up Delivery Hub in Melbourne’s Notting Hill which will be able to process more than 5000 orders a week.

Latest move in turbulent times for supermarkets

The announcement is the latest move from the supermarket as it looks to ensure the safety of all its customers.

On Tuesday it was revealed the supermarket is trialling one-way aisles in some stores to see if it can improve social distancing.

Plexiglass shields have also been set up to protect customers and staff at checkouts and as of last week self-service.

Coles and Woolworths have featured constantly in the coronavirus narrative in Australia, with bulk buying of products ahead of a feared lockdown prompting product shortages across stores.

Items such as toilet paper, hand sanitisers, pasta and tinned foods have all routinely sold out, prompting ugly scenes at some stores as tensions flared between staff and customers.

There have been several reports of supermarket employees being abused by fiery customers.

A Woolworths worker breaking down in tears drew nationwide attention after an irate customer abused her, while a teen Coles worker was also the target of abuse for not wearing gloves while on shift.

On Monday, video emerged of a woman hurling abuse at staff at a Sydney Woolworths on Saturday.

The video was shared on Facebook using the hashtag #leavethestaffalone, and comes the same weekend police in NSW were given the power to fine people who cough and spit on workers.

The new fines had previously been rolled out to protect emergency or healthcare staff.

The retail workers' union said its members had "borne the brunt of a huge upsurge in customer abuse" during the pandemic.

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