Retailers are adapting to changing needs from their customers for deliveries during the coronavirus by moving to digital. 

As lockdown continues, retailers have experimented with how they can not only retain new customers, but also reach those who are vulnerable or self-isolating. 

Atul Sodha, of Londis Peverills in Uxbridge, said he has started using WhatsApp to send his customers videos of what’s in store to help them make orders. “I wasn’t geared up for online, so I started using my phone to add customers contact details,” he said. 

“I send each of them a video of what stock we have on our shelves every morning, with shelf-edge pricing.” 

Sodha has seen his orders double, with average basket spend of between £30 to £40. “This is giving us the opportunity to show people what we can do,” he added. 

“We’ve also taken on 40 new home news delivery accounts, and offer them the option of adding groceries.” 

Coronavirus: government looks to local shops for help

Meanwhile, Mital Morar, owner of eight independent stores in Manchester, has revealed plans to launch his own delivery service during the coronavirus, called aconvenient.store for the local area, with deliveries by Uber and a courier firm processed from a site not open to the public. 

Due to be launched this month, he said: “It was a part of our business plan anyway, but it’s been fast-tracked now because of the coronavirus situation.” 

 “Now is the time to give new ideas a go because the public is more sympathetic right now.” 

Coronavirus: how to provide a delivery service to support vulnerable customers

Morar will launch a marketing campaign next week, with a focus on organic, vegan and ambient products, as well as craft beers and spirits

Atul added that it is important to maintain recommended prices. “Retailers must stay responsible,” he said, “I always keep my prices streamlined – this isn’t about making money, but retaining new customers.” 

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