Online Grocery Services Struggle to Meet Spike in Demand
Just like physical retail stores, online retailers have begun to struggle to cope with the immense amount of demand for their products.
“It’s kind of becoming more challenging to put a meal together,” said Paul Smyth in the AP News article linked, a software engineer who lives near Manchester, England, where the online groceries industry is particularly advanced. He’s a longtime customer of British online-only supermarket Ocado but hasn’t been able to land a slot since he received his last delivery two weeks ago.
Because of the amount of people self-isolating, it has become difficult for people to acquire delivery slots to get their items, requiring people to either go and get them from the store or scrounge with what they have until they can get a time slot.
H-E-B Bringing Restaurant Meals In-Store
H-E-B is looking to help the restaurant industry by teaming up with them to prepare meals-to-go for the Meal Simple program. Three different restaurants in each city is preparing dishes for a limited number of stores to put money into Texas restaurants struggling to survive thanks to the virus, according to the Houston Chronicle.
“This is all about the restaurants. They need our help now,” Kevin Blessing, H-E-B group vice president of bakery, deli, restaurants and prepared meals, told the Chronicle. “We hope our customers look at it as a way to help the restaurant community. There’s a value there. I hope that’s what they see.”
Walmart, Kroger, Hy-Vee Go with One-way Aisles to Combat Coronavirus
Walmart, Kroger and Hy-Vee are instituting one-way aisles and a limit on customer count in their stores due to the virus. Also this week, Walmart started a one-way movement through their aisles with shoppers being guided with floor markers.
“While many of our customers have been following the advice of the medical community regarding social distancing and safety, we have been concerned to still see some behaviors in our stores that put undue risk on our people,” Dacona Smith, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Walmart U.S., explained. “We want to encourage customers to bring the fewest number of people per family necessary to shop, allow for space with other customers while shopping, and practice social distancing while waiting in lines. We’re also seeing states and municipalities set varying policies regarding crowd control, which has created some confusion regarding shopping.”
Walgreens to Open 15 Drive-Thru Testing Sites for the Coronavirus Across 7 States
Walgreens is opening 15 drive-thru testing locations for the virus across 7 states starting the week of April 6. These sites will be located in Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Tennessee and Texas and the drug store chain will use the Abbott Laboratories’ rapid COVID-19 test. Testing is free for those who meet the CDC’s criteria.
“We’re continuing to do everything we can, both with our own resources and also by partnering with others, to serve as an access point within the community for COVID-19 testing,” said Walgreens president Richard Ashworth.
87% Of Shoppers Prefer to Shop in Stores with Touchless or Robust Self-Checkout Options During COVID-19 Pandemic
According to a customer survey from Shekel, nearly two-thirds of customers have changed their purchasing habits due to the virus. The survey talks about many aspects of shopping habits the virus has changed. One of them is that 87 percent of shoppers stated they’d prefer to shop somewhere that uses touchless or robust self-checkout options.
“Getting back to normal routines will take time and require different habits and retail solutions,” said Udi Wiesner, General Manager of Retail Innovation Division which provides Autonomous Micro Market solutions for Shekel Brainweigh. “Consumers will look for touchless shopping experiences whenever possible while keeping social distancing rules, especially if another wave of pandemic occurs. We expect significant growth of unattended Autonomous Micro Markets in convenience store format in urban areas and public facilities.”