How was the re-opening of your business and how was it carried out in line with safety procedures put in place to allow social distancing?
Due to the nature of our business and the swift and safe actions of our teams from the front line to head office, PJUK never actually closed. After being asked as one of many to stay open safely by the government we swiftly moved to implement no contact delivery, closed stores for collection and implemented even more cleaning and safety procedures above and beyond the exceptionally high standards that we already implement.
How is the general feeling and feedback from your team members and your customers now the lockdown is over?
We are very thankful and understanding to the concern that team members had in lockdown which was why the safety and security of our frontline teams was paramount from the start. As confidence builds in communities it’s important to remember that the pandemic hasn’t gone away and while people enjoy the freedoms post lockdown, its vital that our teams are reassured of our safety procedures. Given this focus our belief is that the situation in our stores is now the new norm and our teams have adjusted to the new ways of working and heightened safety measures we must stick to ensure their safety and that of our customers.
What role has technology played in supporting your re-opening plan
We had to adapt our technology quickly to the new contact free delivery process and have since implemented Apple Pay and google pay to make it easier for customers to checkout online. We are still running as a cashless business and don’t see this changing for some time if ever
What market trends are you seeing since re-opening?
It’s all about convenience and safety. Customers want to be assured that the food and packaging they are receiving is safe and we have reassured them of this through our digital channels. In lockdown we saw heightened orders and basket size, very much like the supermarkets initially as people stocked up
What techniques have you used to build sales and re-engage customers
Reassure, remind and engage were the three pillars of the plan. We’ve always been there for our customers and their communities. Supporting those that needed it most was key and we’ve so far raised over 350k for “the trussell trust” since lockdown. Heavy use of our digital channels allowed us to remind people on their homes that we were here for them but at the same time, we wanted to engage with them. There was a lot of reassuring advertising, but we also felt that people needed some light-hearted messages so we ensured we got the balance right
What positive lessons do we need to learn from what the industry has been through?
We can all act faster than we probably ever thought possible and our teams are stronger for it. Nothing is impossible and there has been an incredible amount of adaptation not just in our industry but across the world as people pivot to survive or thrive. But mostly, we have realised that togetherness has never been more important, whether that’s our teams, our partners or the industry, everyone has pulled together to make it work and we should never forget that.
Date Published: 7th August 2020