Play of the Week #8

As COVID-19 continues to impact the food retail and services industry many businesses have been exhibiting ingenuity to overcome challenges.

Play of the Week #8

By Alexander Morgenthaler

Connectedness in the Contactless 

As COVID-19 continues to impact the food retail and services industry many businesses have been exhibiting ingenuity to overcome challenges.  For example, a home-based health food/supplement retailer in Kitchener, Ontario responded to the loss of trade shows by implementing a contactless online ordering system to sell and promote her products. But this updated system still lacked connectedness between the business and the customers. To improve connectedness, orders were placed in a porch cooler as an ingenious twist on curb-side pickup. When the customer arrives to collect the order, there is a chance for employees of the businesses to interact with customers through a closed door, allowing for greater connectedness than COVID-19 restrictions would normally allow. This contactless cooler system created an avenue to connect with customers without creating a new risk of spreading COVID-19, thereby allowing customers to identify with the business and form a stronger connection with the product. These changes are just some of the various innovative solutions and options that are available to businesses to engage with customers and help build resiliency in the local economy. 

Interview insights…

“…Normally I would have several shows lined up throughout the year…. where I would be meeting people and having an opportunity to educate them about the product and sample the product. There was an in person show that I did where there was a limited number of tables, a limited number of people that could be in the building,… it completely changed the way that I sampled. I had prepackaged samples that people could choose to try … it certainly was not the same dynamic.” – Health food business owner

Interview insights…

“Our restaurants are now all done with QR codes with our menus and with people’s phones. From the beginning, we had to figure out what technology was available to us. I guess the big thing was finding the compromise and balance because much of what hospitality is are those special touches, those one offs that set you apart.” – Hospitality Group in Essex County 


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