4 minute read

Retail Life After COVID: Some Things May Never Be the Same

Pam Colangelo, Retail Labor Manager

March 2021 marks one year since COVID-19 changed the grocery industry forever. We all have a story of when it hit us; when we realized that COVID-19 was here. I still recall my first experience in a grocery store last March when people were panic buying frozen food, canned goods, paper products and anything else they could get in their shopping carts. I hadn’t been paying attention to the news that day, so what I saw when I casually walked into my local grocery store to pick up a couple items was a complete surprise—and my first glimpse of how our world would change. It was complete pandemonium. There was pushing, shoving and running in panic. I felt foolish placing my measly six items on the belt at the check stand.

The grocery industry was one of the first to feel the sudden impact of the pandemic. Product shortages. Cleaning, sanitation and food safety concerns. Consideration for team member safety. Uncertainty led to confusion and daily changes to company guidelines and SOPs. I had recently left a 30-year career of working in a grocery store, so I knew that store managers and other associates were overwhelmed. But what most of us didn’t realize was how it would impact our lives forever. Now, a year later, COVID is still very much a reality, and the grocery industry is still adjusting to “the new normal.”

The changes we have seen to the industry were many

To mention just a few:

These practices continue to evolve as the world comes to the realization that we will never completely go back to “the way things used to be.” Retailers must look to make long-term decisions about retaining new strategies adopted in response to the pandemic, as well as whether past practices should be resumed.

Select areas for consideration

Retailers have an opportunity to preserve the sales increases and profits as a result of COVID-19 shopping. The ones that plan and execute their strategies will reap the rewards.

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