Grocers around the country have been caught in the middle of a unique predicament amidst the coronavirus pandemic; they’re experiencing record-shattering sales while also having to practically redesign their entire shopping experience. The tried and true motto of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” simply doesn’t apply anymore as grocers change their policies monthly, if not weekly, to better serve their shoppers and their safety needs.
There’s no doubt that keeping up with the latest coronavirus trends and safety precautions is time consuming, but these grocers have shown that there’s nothing that will keep them from both providing the most safe and efficient shopping experience for their customers and supporting their communities.
Wisconsin-based Metcalfe’s Market was one of the first grocery retailers in Wisconsin to implement common coronavirus practices like one-way aisles and high-risk shopping hours, even going as far as not allowing reusable bags to be brought into the store in case the virus was being carried in the fabric.
Aside from their in-store initiatives, Metcalfe’s is constantly in the news releasing press releases about their latest in-store and online efforts to keep shoppers safe, proving to be a leading example for safety initiatives for other grocers.
Being the three-store grocer they are, Metcalfe’s knows the importance of empowering a strong local community. To show their support for local restaurants, Metcalfe’s created a program where if a shopper buys a $25 gift card to a local restaurant, they’ll get $20 off of their next grocery purchase.
Metcalfe’s is the perfect example of a progressive grocer with their clean initiatives and community-forward mindset. These changes and implementations will surely benefit Metcalfe’s in the long run as shoppers remember their care and consideration after coronavirus has gone to the wayside.
H-E-B is no stranger to praise for the great lengths they go to protect and benefit their shoppers – their motto is even “Taking Care of Texas!” In addition to implementing in-store initiatives to stop the spread of coronavirus, H-E-B offered free stimulus check cashing in all stores so that their shoppers can get their money safely and efficiently without the burden of another cost.
H-E-B also launched Texans Helping Texans, a community outreach innovation guided by digital innovation and compassionate philanthropy that brings Texans together during uncertain times. In partner with Favor, H-E-B launched a simple, low-cost service for local seniors to have access to their very own personal shopper that can bring essential food and supplies to them without ever leaving the comfort of their own home.
A subset of Texans Helping Texans, H-E-B also launched their Foodie Pilot Program, where local restaurants can prepare and package meals to be sold in the grocery store, with all proceeds of sales going directly back to the restaurants to keep them afloat. You can check this list to see if your favorite restaurant is being stocked at your neighborhood H-E-B.
St. Louis area Schnuck’s is a midwestern favorite among shoppers in Missouri, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin. While many grocers struggle with round-up-at-the-register program, Schnuck’s has proven that not even a global pandemic can keep them from supporting their communities.
In just over two weeks, Schnuck’s raised $250,000 that will be donated to the United Way for COVID-19 relief. Of the $250,000 raised, $225,400 was raised solely from customers rounding up their purchases.
In addition to their $250,000 donation to United Way, Schnuck’s donated $605,000 for individuals affected by coronavirus in the St. Louis area. To go even further, they also created a sack lunch program for homeless individuals in the St. Louis area as well.
What We Didn’t Like
If you’ve watched the news or have gone out to get groceries yourself, you’re no stranger to the lengths that local grocery stores are going to ensure their shoppers safety. While there are a lot of grocers continuing to raise the bar, there are a few actions that seem to be a step in the wrong direction.
Grocery store employees are truly front line hero associates. Many grocers were praised for implementing new safety and hazard pay initiatives as a way to say thank you for the hard work and ensure their safety as well. As coronavirus cases continue to build, however, some grocers have ultimately removed these initiatives, endangering their workers as well as the reputation of their store.
While we may not be in the “new normal” quite yet, the grocery industry should recognize that the fight against coronavirus is still going strong, and the entire industry – from the shoppers to the physical store to your loyal hero employees – need to be supported.