These are difficult times. With the number of COVID-19 cases rising, stock markets plunging, and borders closing, there has never been more uncertainty. But as many businesses and institutions close their doors and slow down operations, drug and grocery retailers find themselves having to do just the opposite.

Drug and grocery stores have long been the pillars of their communities. Today this is more true than ever. People are looking to their local stores provide essential supplies, to keep them healthy and safe, and to be a reassuring voice of calm in the chaos.

Today we stand with our clients and industry colleagues and applaud some of the ways they are being proactive and taking care of their customers.

Free Prescription Delivery

Many people—and especially the most vulnerable people—who are currently isolated in their homes are wondering how they will access much-needed medicines. Retailers such as Walgreens, H-E-B and many others are offering free delivery of prescriptions to customers’ homes.

Touchless Delivery

Online delivery of groceries has spiked dramatically as customers are hesitant to join the crowds at their local stores. In order to be even more cautious and reassure customers, grocery delivery services such as Stop & Shop and FreshDirect have begun offering touchless delivery. Customers can choose this option when ordering and have their order dropped outside their door or at a location of their choosing to avoid unnecessary human contact.

Special Hours for Seniors

As supplies of essential products disappear from shelves and consumer anxiety rises, the rush on grocery stores has become intense. It is not uncommon to hear of people lining up for several hours to check out. While it’s not fun for anyone, this causes particular problems for seniors and people with limited mobility. Not only are crowded stores harder to navigate, but spending hours in close proximity with others puts vulnerable seniors at risk. Stores such as Woolworths and Coles in Australia, Sobeys and Nofrills in Canada, and many others have begun instituting special hours before the normal store opening for seniors to shop in a less chaotic environment.

HQ Employees Jumping In

Employees on the front lines of retail are overwhelmed, under intense pressure, and working in a risky environment. Many of their colleagues from head offices have jumped in to fill the gap, with people volunteering on their own time to help stock shelves or fulfill e-commerce orders. It is truly “all hands on deck.”

There hasn’t been a more intense time for retail in recent memory. In response, employees and customers are coming together to bring out the best in all of us. We are hearing stories of crowds of customers cheering on tired and overworked cashiers. Or customers spontaneously posting hand-made signs in stores reminding shoppers to “Be Kind.” In the midst of it all, great retailers are doing what great retailers have always done – putting the customer first.