Since March, many things in the United States have changed due to the coronavirus. Brick and mortar stores have had to make significant changes. Whether it’s a retail or grocery store, every storefront has changed its process and design to keep customers and employees’ safe. Grocery stores have changed drastically to accommodate the influx of shoppers they get. Because of coronavirus, many people are opting out of shopping at unnecessary places. This has impacted many small, specialty stores and some are unable to stay in business due to the changes. Retail giants, such as Target and Walmart, have had no severe problems with the changes. However, they are not entirely off the hook. Here is a list of some things that Brick and Mortar stores won’t have anymore.
9. Self-serve Stations
With the coronavirus outbreak, you won’t see any self-serve stations anymore. It’s impossible to keep these clean and disease-free, so all grocery stores are opting out of them for their customers’ safety and well-being. Sadly, no more popping over to Whole Foods to grab a salad from their salad bar. This has helped reduce the spread since many people throw fits about just wearing a mask. Are you trusting them to have clean hands as well as not sneeze on the food? The self-serve stations were right to go, and we will most likely never see them come back.
8. 24-hour Service
Stores have changed their hours, but none as drastically as the 24-hour storefronts. They have gone from getting customers at 3 a.m. to having the short hours of 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. This is so these stores can close down and sanitize every nook and cranny before the next morning comes around. It’s not just grocery stores that have altered their hours but fast-food restaurants as well. Many McDonald’s used to be open 24 hours and now are closed from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. every day to sanitize thoroughly for their customer’s health and safety.
7. Sales and Promotions
Coronavirus has impacted the supply chain more than we ever realized a virus could and it is showing in the lack of promotions and sales that grocery stores are offering in this day and age. With restaurants closing down or at the very least at minimum capacity, they need as much money as they can get. Grocery stores do not need to offer any deals to get people through the door. Demand in grocery stores is so high that many are afraid they will not keep up.
Clothing stores took the hardest hit during the pandemic. Because of this, they will not be having the same sales and promotions as they would have before coronavirus. These stores were closed down for a while and need all the money they can get, so they need to be strategic about what sales they put out. Traffic is still much slower at malls than it was before.
6. Coin-operated Machines
You may be seeing empty coin-operated candy-machines empty, and they will not be getting refilled anytime soon. This is for a few good reasons; kids likely have dirty hands and touch the outside of the machines to get that toy or candy they’ve put their quarters in for. These machines are a breeding ground for the spread of coronavirus. If stores that have these machines are trying to keep their employees and customers healthy, it makes sense that they allow these machines to be and stay empty.
5. Immediate Entry
Remember when you would just “pop” into the crowded grocery store for just a few minutes. A quick trip to get what you need, and the only waiting would be at check-out. With the novel coronavirus, stores have to stick to a capacity of people being allowed to enter the store. In major cities, this will involve people having to wait outside the store, keeping six feet from each other, to grocery shop. The days of not needing to count heads to go into a store are sadly gone.
4. Food Samples
Sam’s club and Costco have always been so famous for food samples, where they would have various snacks laid out for customers to try for free. Not anymore! Grocery stores have done away with the free food tastings as well. Now you’ll have to rely on the look of the box or online reviews to know what that new meal will be.
3. Cash and Coins
At the cash register in many stores, you will see a sign that says “cards only, due to the shortage of cash and coin. In the United States, people have to hold onto their money now because passing it around from person to person will spread disease. Cash and coins are made out of paper and hard metal, which can easily carry viruses. Many stores are only accepting cards and are even encouraging contactless payments such as apple pay.
2. Fitting Rooms
Clothing stores as well as any store that sell clothes such as Target or Wal-Mart will not have fitting rooms available. They have decided to close them down because of coronavirus. A few thrift stores allow you to try clothes on, but they have to be placed in a bucket afterward to get washed. It is likely this change will be permanent because passing clothes around can spread viruses rapidly. Because people want to reduce the number of stores they go into, some major retailers’ clothing sales have grown while others have shrunk, giving them an edge during these strange times.
1. Crowds of People
Along with the capacity limits, many people opt to either use curbside or have their groceries delivered now. When you head to the grocery store, expect to see fewer people while you’re shopping. People are trying to stay safe during these times and reduce how often, and even opting out altogether, of going to stores, including grocery stores.
While many things seem to be going back to normal, there have still been and will continue to be many changes to the old way of life. Don’t fight it. Experts predict that coronavirus is a virus that will not go away and will be like the flu, with us forever. Get used to the way things are done now and appreciate what still is. Although everything has changed, that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Embrace these changes, and you may find out that you like the way things are done now.