How Grocers Adapting to Surging Demand for Click and Collect

How Grocers Adapting to Surging Demand for Click and Collect

In normal times grocery stores are a gathering place for members of a community to connect and socialize. Today amid this taxing and uncertain time, grocery stores and pharmacies are some of the only businesses that remain open world-wide.  Consumers are being encouraged by their governments to limit frequent trips to the grocery store and pharmacy in an effort to reduce risk spreading pathogens.1  To try and stay ahead of the ever-changing landscape, grocery chains continue making responsive in-store changes, hiring temporary workers, and aggressively trying to adapt to consumer behavior changes such as online order and pickup services (i.e. click and collect) 2

Grocery Stores Respond in Real-time

Store leaders and operations teams are carefully listening to advice from medical experts, concerns from associates and customers. In turn they are seeking in real-time to make changes to the shopping experience to protect the health and wellbeing of workers and customers.  For example,

  • Regulating Store Entry. Stores are limiting the number of customers that can be in the store at one time. For example, Walmart will only allow 5 customers per 1,000 square feet at any given time.This is approximately 20% of a stores capacity.They will manage this restriction by designating a single-entry door where customers will be allowed to enter one-by-one. When the store reaches capacity, customers will be admitted inside on a “1-out-1-in” basis. Customers are being encouraged to limit the number of family members coming to the store so that more people can enter the store.3
  • One-way Movement in Store. Some stores are instituting one-way movement through the aisles.Stores will place markers on the floor to which direction the traffic I the aisle will flow. This is being done with the expectation to reduce customer contact with each other. 3
  • Increased Care at Checkout.Once customers arrive at checkout, they will experience changes such as
    • Having acrylic at checkout and service desks to protect customers and employees.
    • Allowing only one person at a time at each checkout station, both to maintain the necessary space and to allow the associate to properly clean and sanitize the station between customers.
    • Asking customers to download store shopping apps, and pay with a scan of their phone screen, no touching, keypads, or signature required.
    • Cleaning the checkout after each shopper transaction.
    • Having dedicated team members ensure that guests wait in line at an appropriate distance until they're called to the register.
    • Rotating the use of our checkout to allow those not in use to be deep-cleaned.
    • Putting down floor markings in stores to show both customers and associates what is a safe distance to stand.
    • Using dedicated secondary barcode scanners (e.g.,Honeyewell Xenon XP 1952-g-bf, Xenon XP 1952h-bf, and Vuquest 3320g ) to read barcodes on loyalty cards/phone, digital coupons, ID cards for age restricted items, and bottom of the basket items. The checker can use the barcode scanner to read the presented information, without touching the personal item. This minimizes contact.See the article Grocers Using Secondary Scanners in Checkout to Minimize Shopper/Cashier Contact.
    • For more chances see the article 50-plus Critical Actions Groceries Are Making to Protect Workers and Shoppers.

Grocery Online Click and Collect Shopping Surging

According to a national consumer study conducted in March 2020, grocery delivery and pickup services saw a 31% penetration among grocery shoppers compared to 13% just six months earlier in August 2019.  The study emphases that the rate of adoption is not likely to slow anytime soon with 30% of respondents who have never used ecommerce for groceries saying they are either extremely likely or very likely to do so in the next three months if the crisis continues.4

Will Online Surge Last? Once stay-at-home orders are lifted, social distancing is less-critical and this time period is a thing of the past, will people continue using online grocery pickup and delivery? When asked how likely they were to continue using a specific online grocery service, 43% of the survey respondents indicated that they're either extremely or very likely to do so. 4

Grocers Provide Click and Collect Safeguards for Customers and Workers

Just as grocers are setting new records with customers shopping online, they have had to work fast to put in place safeguards to help protect the customer and associates. They include:

  • Creating Contact-Free Delivery/Pickup.Stores are creating “contact-free” procedures for delivery/pickup.For example,
    • Delivery drivers can sign for the customer during delivery/pick-up after completing an ID check.
    • Drivers can bring orders into the home, if needed, but request that customer keep a distance of six feet when doing so.
    • Customers are being asked to stay in their car while an associate loads the order into their vehicle.
    • Customers can authorize the driver to simply leave the order at their doorstep rather than having to sign for it.
    • Dedicating more spaces in parking lots for drive up to serve more guests.
  • Increased customer communication. Stores and keeping in close touch with customers via email, text message, website and mobile apps to alert them if there are any potential delays or increased wait times at your store.
  • Developing Sanitation Protocols. Stores are helping educating store associates on
    • Following enhanced sanitation protocols for all their equipment.
    • Washing their hands and using sanitizer before and after every order.

Honeywell Solutions for Click & Collect

Honeywell’s lineup of retail solutions, including mobile computers, mobile printers, and software, allows for increased associate productivity, especially during times of high demand.

  • Honeywell CT40. An associate is able to quickly locate and pick the order utilizing the Honeywell CT40 Mobile Computer, built on the Mobility Edge platform with integrated scanning technology. Designed for retail store associates and other highly mobile workers, the lightweight, ergonomic Honeywell CT40 device is a sleek and stylish enterprise-class, full-touch device that helps improve worker productivity on the sales floor, backroom, warehouse, or on a delivery run.
  • Honeywell’s Guided Work for Retail. Honeywell’s Guided Work for Retail application on the CT40 provides voice direction to guide in-store associates to fulfill click and collect orders efficiently and accurately. It also assists in the replenishment of in-store stock.

    Honeywell's Guided Work for Retail is a virtual assistant that enables automation to talk to the lone/individual worker, doing repetitive tasks like click and collect and gap scanning, to be heads up and hands-free for completing tasks. The solution allows for multiple forms of input, including voice data capture, barcode scanning and keyboard data entry, which improves productivity, accuracy and consistency.  Supermarkets, hypermarkets, and do-it-yourself are among the many retail environments where this solution is best suited.   See the article: How to Use Honeywell’s Guided Work—Retail for Click and Collect.  

  • Honeywell RP4 Mobile Printer. Fast and convenient service for click and collect at curbside is an emerging critical offering. By empowering associates with the CT40 paired with a payment terminal and RP4 mobile printer helps facilitate a mobile point of sale that’s fast, reliable and easy to use.The Honeywell RP2 Mobile Printer is part of the RP Series mobile printers offer the most rugged and reliable performance for healthcare. Frequent drops, vibration and exposure to dust and water are just a few examples of the regular abuse that mobile printers endure. The RP Series printers are designed to withstand these harsh conditions and give you years of reliable thermal receipt and label printing.

How to Make Innovation Work with Your Budget

In recent days, organizations wishing to quickly add devices like mobile computers, scanners, and mobile printer solutions have inquired about financing to preserve cashflow.  Honeywell-as-a-Service is an offering that helps you navigate technology challenges. It provides you with an innovative approach to acquire software, hardware, and services and pay for them through a monthly payment with no upfront capital outlay.

Contact a Honeywell Solutions Expert today!  Call 1-800-934-3163.

1 Health officials say Americans should limit grocery store and pharmacy trips or 'we can have another peak in a few weeks'
COVID-19 Makes a Punishing Case for Automation in Grocery
Changes to Our Shopping Process to Encourage Social Distancing
COVID-19 accelerates click and collect adoption

Barry J. Ewell

Barry J. Ewell is a Senior Content Marketing Communications Specialist for Honeywell Industrial Automation. He has been researching and writing on supply chain topics since 1991.