Amazon Faces New Role In corona Virus Crisis
Amazon Faces New Role In Virus Crisis: Lifeline
Amazon is changing its priorities to household items and medical supply.
San Francisco: Amazon is finding itself in a new role in the coronavirus crisis as hunkered-down consumers increasingly turn to the tech giant for anything from toilet tissue to streaming television.
The massive infrastructure Amazon has spent years building warehouses, distribution, delivery and cloud computing has vaulted the company into a critical role in the crisis.
In a time when many are confined to their homes, consumers will have high expectations that Amazon will come though to meet their needs and demands.
Amazon, which has expanded its food operations with the acquisition of the Whole Foods grocery chain, has shifted its priorities in recent days to help people get needed household basics and medical supplies.
“There’s enormous pressure on Amazon to meet these increased expectations,” said Technalysis Research analyst Bob O’Donnell.
“Fairly or unfairly, people will expect that Amazon will always have some things, like toilet paper. If not, they’re going to catch more grief than if a local grocery store is out.”
Amazon this week boosted pay and set out to hire 100,000 more US workers to add to its global workforce of some 800,000 to cope with a surge in online shopping prompted by coronavirus fears.
Amazon’s vulnerability is in its delivery network, some of which it contracts out to partners, according to Enderle.
“Once drivers start being sick, we could have a problem,” Enderle said.
“They are a serious liability that could cripple Amazon.”
Drivers exposed to the virus could become carriers, taking it with them on their routes, Enderle reasoned, noting he was handed a package a day earlier by delivery driver not wearing any gear to protect from the virus.
Amazon has also faced criticism for keeping warehouses open in Europe even after cases of COVID-19 have been detected among workers.
The French branch of the activist group Friends of the Earth called Amazon’s actions irresponsible and said in a statement the company “is seeking to profit from the crisis by increasing its influence.