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Progressive Grocer – March 2020

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As coronavirus cases continue to rise across the world including in India, shoppers are advised to exercise caution in their daily interactions with others to stem the spread of the illness. Grocers and supermarkets can do their bit to allay public fears with regard to COVID-19 by choosing to address the concerns of customers directly.

To begin with, they can diligently focus on the stores’ hygiene and cleanliness standards even more so until the coronavirus passes. Stores should spend more time cleaning commonly used areas more often, such as checkout lanes, credit cardterminals, conveyor belts and cleaning shelves when restocking. In addition, retailers should encourage sick employees to stay home with paid sick leave via the company’s Paid Time Off (PTO) policy, whereby associates amass PTO banks that can be used to cover time away from work.

Additionally, they should ask customers to purchase only necessary items and not to hoard products, so that “all people can find the products they need to support their health and the health of their families.”

To successfully navigate this outbreak, retailers will need to think about how they can best restore consumer confidence and meet changing consumer buying patterns as the virus potentially spreads. Hopefully, they will prove equal to the challenge by focusing on some of the initiatives talked about here.

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