As efforts to stop the spread of Covid-19 escalate around the world, attention has turned to how individuals and communities can protect one another.

By flattening out the epidemic curve, this reduces the surge of cases at any one time, to prevent overwhelming the healthcare system.

Independent retailers such as convenience stores, butchers, grocers and pharmacies are in the front line of this crisis. They are all providing vital public services to ensure that the most vulnerable people within communities can purchase essential items.

Consumers, either by choice or under advice, are staying closer to home and shopping locally more than before. This adds pressure for businesses to operate safely to contribute to flattening the curve.

What best practices can retailers put in place for the coming months?

1. Home delivery

Due to self-isolation and quarantine, consumers are increasingly opting for online home delivery. Nations have been urged to use food delivery services where possible, leading to an enormous spike in demand.

In an effort to help supermarket retailers meet boosted demand for such services, the UK government announced plans to temporarily relax regulations on delivery drivers’ hours.

2. Contact-free shopping​ 

There is a need for ‘new thinking’ to ensure everyone has access to necessary goods. Stores, will, of course, have to play their part. As seen in China, the introduction of contact-free shopping will be important, potentially to the extremes China has taken where orders were left in dedicated ‘pick up’ zones outside of shops. People are afraid to leave their houses or interact with others, ease this issue by offering little-to-none contact practices.

3. Mitigation measures

Retailers must take appropriate steps to protect their employees from the spread of the virus. As an operating business, this highly increases the risk of contraction as a ‘hub’ for people coming and going. Take appropriate measures to reduce the likeliness of spread as much as possible – implement software systems, such as click and collect, to innovate previous methods of trade.

Keep your staff safe, ensure gloves, hand sanitisers and protective shields are used. Encourage contactless payment, good hygiene practices and safe food practices while reducing human contact as much as possible.

4. Building consumer trust

To be empathetic in these challenging times, prioritise your customers’ and staff’s safety to protect your community and brand. Safety is a primary concern – consumers push and pull factors will be heavily influenced by precautionary measures to purchase goods. Business owners should implement online business practices to accommodate safe shopping.

If you would like further advice for solutions on how to protect your community, staff and business why not contact us today? The Mercury Order team is offering free subscription to our fast and reliable online ordering software to do our part in contributing to flattening the curve.  NI/UK:  +44 333 241 44 22 or 028 7122 8820. ROI: +353 1 247 5294