Reality Check
Progressive Grocer|August 2020
Reality Check
SHOPPERS EXPECT MORE THAN CLEAN CART HANDLES AND PLEXIGLASS PARTITIONS.
Gina Acosta

Six months after the first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in the United States, grocery retailers are still grappling with how to “pandemic-proof” their stores.

Celebrated food retailers such as H-E-B, Kroger and Publix, all of which have won recent accolades for their response to the crisis, have implemented a slew of social-distancing and sanitation protocols designed to keep shoppers safer. These include floor decals indicating where customers can stand 6 feet apart, checkstand partitions to keep “aerosolized virus droplets” away from cashiers and other shoppers, and teams of deep cleaners spraying down shopping cart handles, seats and doors. But new research shows that many consumers still aren’t persuaded that food retailers are doing everything they can to keep the grocery store from making them sick.

About That Deep Clean

In fact, a new survey shows that 66% of shoppers said they would avoid stores that fail to meet COVID-19 safety expectations. According to fresh data from Missoula, Mont.-based retail solutions provider Cennox, almost half (46%) of consumers believe that the current pandemic safety measures put in place by supermarkets and retail stores have been inadequate or poorly managed, and just 7% said they have “complete trust” that retailers will keep them safe.

“The results are clear: If shoppers don’t feel protected, they will vote with their feet,” asserts Cennox COO Nick Cockett. “We know how hard retailers have been working to overhaul their stores in recent weeks and months, but they simply cannot afford to adopt partial measures to keep customers safe.”

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August 2020