Grocery stores coping with high demand due to COVID-19

Online grocery demand up

As more people self isolate and shift their habits, the demand for online grocery shopping and delivery service is skyrocketing.

One Kelowna shopper tells Castanet they chose to use Superstore's shopping and delivery service, and even though they were expecting delays, the service was not able to meet two delivery dates and eventually the order was cancelled. 

We reached out to Superstore Head Office to see how much their customer's buying behaviour has changed.

"Our PC Express business has more than doubled in recent weeks as the numbers of Canadians shopping from home continues to spike. This is driven in part by the encouragement to social distance, but also because we’ve dropped fees and prices to make sure those who need the service don’t face cost barriers. As demand grows, we’re finding new ways to serve more people, faster. That means more equipment, more capacity in pick-up windows, and more staff."

As demand continues to grow, the company wants customers to know that wait times for online orders will vary between locations.

"We are doing our best to fulfill orders as quickly as possible, but in some areas where demand is particularly high, wait times for pick up or delivery could take a few days. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, however, we can assure you that our colleagues are working hard to ensure we continue to serve our communities."

Smaller retailers have shifted their service as well. T-Bones Fresh Meal Market has stores in Vernon, Kelowna, West Kelowna and Penticton and have moved quickly to ensure the safety of their staff and customers.

Company co-owner Dennis Ulveland tells Castanet they moved quickly to make sure everyone was safe, "we have cut back our hours and limited the number of people in the store at one time. We have installed plexiglass sneeze guards as a physical barrier at the checkout counter."

Ulveland says one of the most important things they've done isn't in the store, "we've made it mandatory for all of our employees to practice proper hygiene and social distancing away from work as well."

As an incentive and reward, all frontline workers have been given raises to help compensate. The businesses hours have been cut back, but Ulveland says that's mostly to ensure proper cleaning and re-stocking.

One of the biggest changes to the way they do business is online shopping. Customers can now use the website to pick their orders before arriving at the store.

"We've stopped accepting cash, for the time being, we understand this is inconvenient but we think it's the right thing for both our employees and our customers." 

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