Business

New Rules of Commerce

The coronavirus pandemic hasn’t just changed when and where we shop, but also how we navigate our favorite franchises. Some of this behavior may become part of a new normal in the coming months and years. But knowing what will or will not be a temporary adjustment in how we shop is still a guessing game.

“The safety of our associates and members is at the forefront as we navigate this fluid situation,” Sam’s Club said in a prepared statement. “We proactively rolled out many safety measures, and we’re not putting a timetable on making modifications but will be thoughtful and deliberate as we monitor changes in cities and states and adapt accordingly.”

The changes being tried at Sam’s Club stores in Michigan and across the country were fairly representative of other big-box stores. According to Sam’s Club, they include:

  • Sanitizing shopping carts between uses, and entire stores overnight
  • “Metering” the number of customers in the store at any one time to avoid crowding and restricting the number of people shopping per family to two
  • Sneeze guards at cash registers, pharmacies and member service desks to separate workers and customers
  • Social distancing markers on the floors to give customers cues to space themselves
  • Added public hand-washing stations for both customers and employees
  • Employee health checks before they start shifts

Other changes may mean we’ll continue to avoid brick-and-mortar stores altogether. The Food Institute said in a recent blog post that online ordering, curbside pickup, home delivery and contactless payment methods are likely to continue growing, not just for safety but also for convenience.

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