All over the globe E-commerce companies are struggling to step up during the pandemic of Covid-19 as the topsy turvy lockdown poses further challenges on their ability to operate. The e-commerce giants such as Amazon and Walmart expected to suffer significant losses in 2020.
In many countries, the lockdown was applied as a safety precaution, and online retailers were forced to suspend operational hours. During the lockdown, measures like quarantine and social distancing have fuelled the demand for online ordering and longer wait times for home deliveries because most of the consumers are inside their homes to avoid unnecessary travel.
These days getting groceries delivered at our address has become very difficult. Even the goods that once seemed abundant – toilet paper, cleaning supplies, water, milk, meat – quickly became very hard to find.
Let’s read and find out what challenges grocers are facing and what they are doing to provide better services:
#1 For Seniors the Grocery Stores Have Adapted Well Working Environment
According to a survey conducted by “Target Point”, ‘Nine out of ten senior citizens say that grocery stores in the city have adapted well to the extra demand from coronavirus. (This data also includes the people who say that grocery stores have changed exceptionally well)
According to millennials, stores in the area have adapted extremely or somewhat well, but some are still working to change.
Data from another online source shows that the online orders jumped 151 per cent in march 2020, while the home deliveries are up by 210 per cent. Even the same day and next day assured delivery services have also warned the customers about the limited time-slot availability.
While on the other hand, the demand for online grocery delivery apps like Instacart, Walmart Grocery, and Shipt has surged 218 per cent, 160 per cent and 124 per cent, respectively.
#2 Encouraging Social Distancing
The grocers are preventing customers from having to enter the store in the first place. Most of the grocers are encouraging their customers by asking them to buy online and pick up their respective orders directly from store with curb sidepick-up and even drive-through options.
The BOPIS (Buy Online And Pick Up In-Store) orders have surged by 62% between February 24 and March 21 as compared to the same period of the previous year.
#3 Setting Special Shopping Hours
Due to the pandemic, many stores have set special shopping hours at shoppers risk for the immunocompromised and elderly customers. During these special hours, stores open one or two hours early for sensitive populations. During these hours, the store staff allows a few people at a time to put their primary focus on maximum social distancing rule. After these special shopping hours, the stores have to go through the proper sanitization process to avoid any further outbreak.
#4 The Need for Warehouse Space and Creativity
The rise of E-commerce platforms and expectation of fast deliveries has influenced the developers to build more warehouses across the cities, closer to customers, in conjunction with the traditional hub-and-spoke model which we have already seen in the past.
Here Are a Few Effective Tips That Can Help You to Ensure a Safe Shopping Experience:
- You must only visit any store when it’s essential. Always be creative with the stuff what you already have at your home before heading to the store.
- In several countries, the N95 face mask is mandatory for everyone. So, whenever you go outside always wear a mask, by doing so, you will be doing your part to keep your fellow shoppers and grocery store employees in a healthy environment.
- After every use, wash and disinfect your re-usable grocery bags to protect yourself from the virus. To comply with city, county or WHO COVID-19 health orders, many stores aren’t allowing customers to use re-usable bags inside the premises.
- As a good citizen and customer always try to reduce store crowding. If possible, don’t bring extra people on your visit to the store.
- Always practice social distancing within the store. The CDC COVID-19 guidelines advise people to keep six feet distance or two grocery carts, between themselves and other shoppers.
- Don’t use your hands, inspect the items with your eyes. If you want to avoid unnecessary touching of fruits, vegetables and other things use a produce bag to make and finalise your selection.
- Every grocer has marked the floors in and around the store to help you remember and keep a safe distance from your fellow shoppers. Also, avoid crowding the check stand.
- The store employees are also human and in this tough time, they are working hard to provide everyone with safe access to the food and other supplies they need. So, do treat them with kindness. If you notice a delay, then don’t lose your patience. They do their work, including additional cleaning protocols, and you can consider acknowledging them with a big “thank you”.
- When you plan to visit a nearby store, always remain aware of the store’s special hours or safety measures. As mentioned earlier, many stores are offering special shopping hours for seniors or other vulnerable populations. So, whenever you decide to visit the store, check their website or call them in advance to know more about their special shopping hours and other safety measures.
- Once you have left the store after check out, remove your gloves without touching anything else and dispose of them if you were wearing them. If not, then you can wash your hands with a bar of soap or use hand sanitizer with alcohol between 60% to 95%. Now you can load the shopping items in your car and head home.
- After reaching home, wash or disinfect your hands before you start unpacking the shopping. After sanitising your hands, you can remove outer packaging from some products and dispose of it. Though, it’s not likely to happen that the surface or external packaging of any product will be covered with enough virus to cause an infection.