November 2, 2020

Customers Return While Post Covid On-Line Shopping Continues to Soar, Grocers Say

New York…"The store is certainly busier than during the height of Covid Pesach time but shopping online has become the new habit of many,” said Malki Levine of the Evergreen Kosher Supermarkets in Monsey and Lakewood." We have steady traffic, but on-line orders are higher than before Covid,” said Avraham Banda of the popular Pomegranate Kosher Supermarket in Flatbush. Howie Klagsbrun of the Gourmet Glatt chain said: “Everyone is pretty much back. A few isolated people are not. They are using the GG online app for shopping."

While most of the stores reached by Kosher Today agreed that in-store shopping is slowly inching back to “normal,” the big change appears to be in on-line shopping. Mayer Gold, Vice President of Operations for the Seasons supermarkets put it this way: “Our customers have for the most part returned to in store shopping but habits have changed. As many people are still working remotely and schools were closed, we found people shopping at different times than previously. In as much as people were home early, there was no reason for late night shopping even on Thursday nights. As yeshivas are reopening, family schedules will change yet again and we will see how this affects our customers shopping habits.”

While younger people have largely made the adjustment to on-line shopping “it is challenging for the older generation who are most vulnerable to the virus because they are afraid to come out and into the store and yet they are the ones who find it most difficult to transition to the online shopping technology,” said Mrs. Levine. “We are doing our best to support them by walking them through the process with phone support.” The new reality of almost having two sets of customers, say the retailers has been challenging to the stores. “We are always looking for ways to upgrade the customer experience online, while simultaneously working to enhance our in-store shopping experience for our steadily increasing customers who are returning from Covid isolation,” added Mrs. Levine. She admitted that it is challenging to figure out where to put “our most important resources” while making sure that customers who come into store to shop, deserve first class service and attention, which is always a store’s priority.

Mr. Gold found that many people turned to online shopping during the height of the pandemic, as they were handling upwards of 4-5 times their usual number of online orders for many weeks in a row. “As things began turning back to some semblance of normalcy and folks came back to the stores, online orders started to decrease. We’re still doing significantly more on-line orders than pre Covid but not nearly as much as during the busiest times. “