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Stores changing procedures to keep up with pandemic shopping changes

Posted at 10:04 AM, Apr 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-16 14:45:08-04

Stores are reporting a record number of online orders since the start of the pandemic and it's changing the way they are having to operate.

According to President of the Arizona Food Marketing Alliance, Mark Miller, along with cleaning supplies and added safety precautions, retailers are having to spend money on resources to get online orders together so they can be picked up or delivered.

"It's definitely here to stay. We've seen some leveling off, but it's going to continue to at some point turn around and keep growing," said Chan Braithwaite, a supply chain expert at Arizona State University's Thunderbird School of Global Management.

A survey by the online shopping app Instacart reports 77% of their customers say they plan on continuing to shop online. Instacart representative Laurentia Romaniuk says how and when people shop has changed within the past year.

“Customers are also shopping in the middle of the week, so instead of having to go to the store on the weekends because it's online they can shop between meetings, they can shop immediately after work," Romaniuk said. "So, the time of day when grocery stores are busiest has changed too."

Braithwaite says because of the high demand, retailers are having to choose which products to deliver to their stores. He says shipping costs continue to remain high and the cost of aluminum has gone up, which means certain products like canned vegetables or soda may be more expensive or difficult to find.

“You might see that there are certain varieties that they’re out of because Coca-Cola might be prioritizing, alright, we’re going to use the aluminum we have available and sell straight Coca-Cola. But we might not have as much of, you know, other more fringe sodas that they might usually make," Braithwaite said.

He says customers may have to wait until after the holidays before prices go back down.