Learning from retail/FMCG in other markets

The COVID-19 epidemic is unprecedented in its global scale. However, this also means that there are many examples out there to learn from and that can inspire how to act. Food stores are still open even in the quarantined countries or areas so some food retailers around the globe have found ways to lower the risk for shoppers and personnel. 

Two food retail chains in Sweden have started using a Plexiglas shield at the cashier. Food retailer Willis is putting this into all their 200 stores and Lidl, a low-cost chain, is also putting up similar shields. Lidl has also started to clearly mark 1.5m distances on the floor for people waiting in line so that social distancing is always maintained.

Willis stores with installed Plexiglas (picture from Willis)

In Germany Bauhaus, a DIY retailer has started with drive-in shopping for toilet paper. The customer stays in the car, the staff puts out toilet paper at a number of pick up places, the customer stops to pick them up, then drives on to an outdoor cashier.  

Read Also: Coronavirus: Sweden starts to debate its public health experiment

Some retail chains in Europe have converted stores to online pick-up places. Either for customers to pick-up the order themselves (if this is allowed) or for a speedier distribution. While this development has happened due to COVID-19 it is part of a larger trend for brick and mortars to find a place in a digitized economy. 

In the US Amazon has announced a plan to hire additional 100,000 full and part-time staff, to cater to a growth in demand for food, toiletries and drugs. In Nigeria, Jumia has launched its “contactless safe delivery” to alleviate the need to physically meet the delivery person. While many of these activities are done by large corporations, smaller companies should be able to steal with pride, for example, put a shield in front of staff, find a way of selling/delivery without meeting the customer and so on.

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