Fight against virus transforms shopping habits, patterns

Awareness campaigns on social distancing, particularly the directives from Qatari authorities, have helped encourage and change shopping habits and patterns among customers, further boosting efforts to prevent the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19).

“Customers are adhering to social distancing practices at our stores,” LuLu Group International regional manager Shanavas P M said, adding that many have learned to adjust to the “new normal” amid the pandemic.

He said most shoppers come to their stores with face masks and gloves as they also keep a reasonable distance while purchasing items and queueing at payment counters.

Under Decree Law No (17) for 1990 regarding the prevention of infectious diseases, wearing of face masks has become compulsory from April 26 (until further notice) for government and private sector employees and clients, shoppers at food and catering stores and workers in the contracting sector.

An initiative by the General Directorate of Traffic also deployed patrols across the country to raise public awareness on the importance of following the precautionary measures while going out and to educate people on the properly use of face masks and gloves to stay safe and prevent infection.

It is learnt that many shoppers have become accustomed to such precautionary measures within store premises, including the use of cashless/contactless payment and undergoing temperature check before entering the stores, among others, aimed at preventing the spread of Covid-19.

Shavanas noted that LuLu staff and Qatar Red Crescent Society volunteers deployed at its stores continue to remind customers about the importance of such practices.

It is observed that many shoppers also come to stores prepared, having a complete list of all the items they intend buy, which saves them more time than what they previously do.

“I think it’s safer if I do the grocery alone, it’s challenging but more flexible. I see to it I have my face mask with me and a small bottle of sanitiser in my pocket, so a lot has changed,” said Filipino expatriate Ruel M, who also plans to buy a goggle or face shield as additional protection against Covid-19.

“It’s better to be overprotected even if other people would think I’m weird, I don’t want to catch the virus and spread it to my family and others,” he stressed.

Ruel said that he also makes sure to laundry the clothes he wore while shopping and takes a shower immediately, while her wife does the sanitising of the grocery items. “It’s something I did not like to do previously but I get used to it now, and it becomes a habit.”

Many residents, who were asked to stay or work from home, also learned to adjust their way of shopping by relying on a number of digital and online platforms.

Shanavas said LuLu has a faster and more convenient way for customers to purchase and get their grocery orders delivered during these difficult times.

“We have other options such as ‘Click and Collect’ and ‘Express Delivery’ since online shopping has some limitations like the number of delivery vehicles,” he said, citing an increasing number of shoppers who prefer using these two platforms.

‘Click and Collect’ allows customers to order online and allows the store to prepare the items for collection the same day while Express Delivery works almost the same way but items are delivered to the customer’s location by Karwa taxis.

As seen on GulfTimes  Image Credits GulfTimes