How Shopping Habits Are Affected by Coronovirus

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How Shopping Habits Are Affected by Coronovirus

By Bridget Goldschmidt - 03/03/2020

From Path to Purchase IQ sister brand Progressive Grocer (March 2) ...

As COVID-19 coronavirus fears rise and various U.S. states reveal their first confirmed cases, consumers may seek to limit their exposure to infection by making use of grocers’ existing e-commerce programs. This may present certain challenges to food retailers, however, as they struggle to keep pace with an uptick in online orders.

“As evidenced by both public concern and stock market performance, the spread of coronavirus is one of the most serious and challenging developments that retailers have had to cope with in a very long time,” affirmed Kelly Lynch, retail solutions manager at ActiveViam, a retail pricing platform provider with offices in London, Paris, New York, Singapore and Hong Kong. “To successfully navigate this outbreak, retailers need to think about how they can best restore consumer confidence and meet changing consumer buying patterns as the virus potentially spreads. This includes making sure that their online infrastructure is strong enough to cope with an influx of online orders in affected areas, making delivery strategy changes, and just simply providing customers with clear, concise information about any changes that may impact the buying experience. This type of dependable approach will provide a little additional peace of mind for shoppers, while retailers consider any overarching changes that need to be made.”

Grocers shouldn’t just focus on upping their delivery game, however.

“Home delivery and click-and-collect could be equally effective in serving consumers wishing to avoid infection from close contact when visiting stores, so long as consumers take the recommended hygiene precautions,” said Ratula Chakraborty, a professor of business management at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom. These precautions include frequent handwashing, using hand sanitizer, and covering sneezes or coughs. By minimizing close human contact in these ways, food retailers “could win the confidence of nervous consumers during an outbreak,” she adds.

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