(File this under things nobody will ever do.)
- have a board outside the door listing which sections or products – bread, toilet rolls etc. – are completely sold out. Have a column indicating roughly when you expect to restock the section.
- large map of the supermarket aisles posted outside entrance / in car park. New or less frequent customers can familiarise themselves with the map before they enter, so they do not get confused or unnecessarily interact with other customers while shopping.
- if entrance has two sets of automatic doors, make one enter only and one exit only
- sell toilet rolls in smaller pack sizes (1,2,4 etc.) not 16, 24 – to make it easier for people who don’t need or want large packs.
- have a staff member whose job it to sanitise handles of shopping baskets or trolleys throughout the day
- purchase UV lamps for each store, to inspect surfaces for germs (staff will need some basic safety training before using these)
- hand washing station for customers, specifically before/as they enter the store
- plastic partitions to help protect (and to an extent, reassure) checkout staff, as have already been used in some countries
- UK Finance (formerly the UK Cards Assocation) to consider raising the £30 contactless limit, to reduce times necessary for customers to touch pin pads
- Add on screen messaging reminding customers to clean hands after using self-checkout machine or PIN pad. Log frequency of use per checkout, so if staff have limited time, they can clean areas most likely to be infected, and reset the counter
- coordinated, staggered elderly / key worker staff hours, so they’re available on different times/days at different supermarkets, not the same time everywhere, to help those working varying shifts or relying on public transport.
- A list of these times to be maintained centrally by council and local press and to be displayed in the supermarket (listing their competitors)
- once of a week, supermarkets to publish heat map of day and hours, indicating when busy / quiet periods are
- give loyalty points for people who shop outside of peak or priority hours
- reverse loyalty points system – award points to people who DON’T panic buy toilet roll or other high demand items, or who regularly buy in smaller quantities. (Trickier for people to game this system if you apply it only occasionally, averaged over multiple visits rather than at checkout.)
- reverse multi-buy offers – cheaper prices for buying smaller quantities of high demand items,instead of rewarding buying in bulk
- suspend Sunday trading restrictions – none of the reasons for having them apply at the moment. It also leads to the policy of ‘letting people in before the tills open’ which again, wasn’t intended for this sort of demand, and will just lead to an increased number of people in close proximity who are unable to leave the store
Home delivery / website:
- static page (one that specifically does not require registration/login) regenerated at regular intervals showing, per store, remaining available delivery slots by quantity and date
- a proper system status page for all supermarkets, with website metrics – e.g. page load time and API failure rate, email delivery time – and customer service metrics: outstanding calls/emails and current wait time for both. Let people check status of email tickets. Heat map showing quiet times to call customer service. Callback option.
- make the list of out of stock items mentioned earlier available online too
- government to provide an API that accepts, say, a postcode and a national insurance number, and will tell you if that person is a key worker. Use this to allow priority choice of online delivery slots etc.
- If there’s an error, say when attempting to book a delivery slot, don’t immediately redirect people all the way back to the start of the process (time consuming for users and increases server load further)
Revised 12:10pm, 22 March 2020