Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, online grocery shopping services have experienced a boom, according to a report by Business Insider. With pickup and delivery options, this market has allowed for a safer way to shop. 

Despite the lifting and reimposing of shutdowns nationwide, online grocery shopping continues to garner a large customer base, according to research conducted by Brick Meets Click and Mercatus. The study showed monthly sales have continued to rise; March saw $4 billion in revenue compared to June’s $7.2 billion. 

Various stores offer a wide range of products, free delivery, local shopping and healthy products, among other amenities. Major corporations like Amazon, Walmart and Google remain widely used, but smaller companies such as Instacart, Shipt, Thrive Market and FreshDirect have found their foot in the door in what is now considered an essential service.

The midwest grocery store chain Hy-Vee has experienced a similar increase in online foot traffic the last few months, with Aisles Online. According to Christina Gayman, Springfield Hy-Vee’s public relations director, business at Aisles Online has increased since the start of the pandemic. In order to fulfill the increasing demand for online grocery shopping, Hy-Vee issued a press release on March 20 to seek temporary hourly workers.

Aisles Online serves as a pickup service located in Hy-Vee’s parking lot, but delivery options are available too through DoorDash.

“We have shifted Aisles Online pickup order parking to different areas of our store parking lots to accommodate the increase in pickups throughout the day and have added express pickup and delivery options for customers who are interested in those,” Gayman said.

Tessa Bogowith, a senior in special education at MSU, started working for Hy-Vee at Aisles Online at the end of May. She believes their services are very important for the immunocompromised and loves her job. 

“Being the only Hy-Vee in town right now, we can get anywhere from 100-200 orders a day, give or take,” Bogowith said. “Which can definitely be stressful, but thankfully we have a great team storewide and everyone steps in to help when we need it.”

While it may not be reflective of every grocery pickup and delivery service, Instacart released an article in August depicting what products customers were buying during lockdowns.

While products such as toilet paper and soap saw a well-known increase in sales in March, searches for unexpected items such as yeast, flour, bird food and hair dyes skyrocketed, according to Instacart.

Amazon, with their 2017 acquisition of Whole Foods Market, has been able to utilize the grocery store chain in collaboration with their Prime membership to offer customers free same-day delivery with a minimum purchase.

Walmart offers similar deals with the options of contactless pickup and delivery services. 

Harter House, a chain unique to southwest Missouri, provides similar options as well, on a more regional scale. Alyssa Appleton, a junior history major at MSU, has made use of their curbside pickup and delivery services.

“It was easy to use and very convenient during the stay-at-home order,” Appleton said. “I personally love it and believe it’s safer than going to the store myself.”

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, online grocery services continue to offer a safer shopping experience and a new job market in the form of personal shoppers.