- Grocers are continuing to ramp up their efforts to support senior customers during the COVID-19 crisis, according to local reports. Raley’s is offering Senior Essentials Bags for curbside or in-store pickup, while Brookshire’s is giving a special senior discount.
- Raley’s discounted Senior Essentials Bags will include two options, a $20 bag and a $35 bag. The $20 option includes fresh items and pantry staples like oatmeal, canned goods, pasta and oranges. The $35 bag will include freshly prepared heat-and-eat entrees and salads. Customers can purchase one bag per day, per family, as long as supplies are available.
- Brookshire’s will give seniors 60 and older a special 5% discount from now through May 5 at all four of its banners, including Brookshire’s, Super 1 Foods, Spring Market and Fresh by Brookshire’s. The company is also encouraging customers to leave the first hour of the day for seniors to shop.
These latest efforts to protect vulnerable populations join the move by dozens of grocers across the U.S. who have instituted seniors-only hours of operation.
While senior-only hours help, the practice can still result in multiple people shopping store aisles at one time. Raley’s Senior Essentials Bags program could help alleviate those worries by minimizing the number of times seniors need to spend in the store, which maximizes social distance and helps protect them from any possible exposure. Caregivers and friends can also pick up the bags for seniors so they can avoid the store altogether.
The initiative also helps the retailer control inventory. Grocers are overrun with business at the moment and run out of stock quickly as shoppers buy in bulk. By offering a pre-packed bag, Raley's will ensure shoppers don't wipe out shelves before the store opens to the general public. But the bags, the special shopping hours and Brookshire's discount will also encourage senior customers to keep shopping in-store versus online, which has been crushed with demand as of late.
Instacart, for example, saw a 40% increase in the number of people using its services to place and send orders to others over the last week. Amazon has temporarily shut down its Pantry operations due to "high order volumes," as did U.K.'s e-grocer Ocado.