Sainsbury's offers an on-shelf note of compassion to its shoppers
Show some empathy
In the face of crisis it is the moments of random kindness and empathy that are capturing people’s hearts. From younger generations offering to grocery shop for their elderly neighbours to musicians performing live concerts on their social media or illustrators offering drawing sessions for kids, we can all learn something from a little bit of kindness, particularly towards those more vulnerable than ourselves.
Witness how UK supermarkets joined forces to run an ad in national newspapers urging shoppers to stop panic buying and show consideration for others, with many reacting accordingly. The supermarket Iceland are offering priority shopping hours for the over 70s as are Lidl stores in Ireland, with Lidl asking the public to respect these time slots to allow more vulnerable people to visit stores. Morrisons are showing compassion by setting up a dedicated customer call centre so that people who aren’t online can still order their groceries, as well as developing a new range of simple-to-order food parcels. They too are having dedicated shopping hours for the elderly who will be given a free hot drink on their way out. Both Pret and Leon are increasing their discount for NHS workers to 50% with Leon offering to support those working in hospitals near Leon stores by offering free food deliveries and Pret providing free hot drinks for those workers too.
Compassion extends beyond just external messaging with Sainsbury’s offering an on-shelf note of compassion to its shoppers, advising people not to panic and stockpile, which could cause issues for those more vulnerable in the community. Signs read “Please think before you buy”. The supermarket’s CEO Mike Coupe outlined several measures the brand is taking during these times. They too are reserving the first hour of shopping time at every store for elderly and vulnerable customers while online customers over the age of 70 or who have a disability will also be given priority access to online delivery slots. Sainsbury’s is also expanding its Click and Collect service, offering more locations and the option to pick ordered groceries up from store car parks for those in self isolation. The supermarket, alongside others, has placed restrictions on the number of products people can buy; no more than three of any grocery and two of more popular products like loo paper, UHT milk and soap. The message Coupe sent in an email emphasised the importance of looking out for one another, to remember that there’s enough to go round if we’re considerate about the way we shop.
Supporting small businesses
During these difficult times, the businesses that will typically be hardest hit are the smaller ones, the ones that are self-sufficient, entrepreneur-run or independently owned. As people become more confined to their homes and social contact limited, how we shop and spend our money will drastically shift. While supermarkets will continue to serve, if you can, look to local businesses for deliveries, whether you’re lucky enough to have a milk man or a bakery near you that will deliver.
Acknowledging this, Facebook has pledged a $100 million grant programme in support of small businesses, aimed at backing 30,000 small businesses in 30 countries around the world. It is setting up new virtual training programmes to help business owners handle the new normal of business operations. Facebook has also made its Business Hub, a resource for Facebook employees and health experts, available to everyone to offer help, training and support from the Facebook teams.
From a company built on encouraging people to go out, Time Out has now shifted to Time In, encouraging people to adhere to expert advice to lay low and stay in. The company has also launched a Love Local campaign to ask people “to show empathy and support” towards independent businesses, something that the agency Lucky Generals has done by putting £1,000 behind the bar at their local pub in London, The Betsey Trotwood, not to drink their way through right now but to show their support for a local business in need.
In an email from The Dots Founder Pip Jamieson, she outlined ways the platform is aiming to support its community of creatives and how we can best support one another. This includes launching a coronavirus support feed online, encouraging people to get in touch with the mentors available and inviting people to sign up to live webinars and virtual events. While We Are Social in the US are offering free tutorials and marketing services to small and medium-sized businesses in America.