Change has become routine for Tesco, Asda, Aldi and Lidl, who have had to manage everything from buying panic to social distancing.
And it continues, with several supermarkets changing rules and guidelines this week to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Asda announced that it is testing “virtual queues” before buyers enter its stores, which could be applied in a number of other stores across the UK.
We also saw Tesco, Lidl and Aldi make announcements that would interest their buyers.
We have gathered what you need to know below.
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As purchasing habits have changed in recent weeks, Tesco has decided to extend the expiration date of some of its Clubcard vouchers, in order to give users more time to use them. This means that vouchers that were due to expire on May 31, 2020 can now be used until November 30, 2020.
Tesco’s Clubcard program gives members one point for every £ 1 spent in stores and every £ 2 spent on fuel. Each 150 points is worth £ 1.50 to spend in store or online, and is worth up to three times more with Tesco’s reward partners, including Virgin Atlantic and Pizza Express.
To check if you have vouchers that are about to expire, log in to the Tesco Clubcard app and go to the “vouchers” section. There you can see your total points and expiration dates, reports PlymouthLive.
Vouchers can be spent at Tesco stores, online, and with reward partners. Vouchers are generally valid for two years and you cannot redeem them after they have expired.
Buyers also have more time to retrospectively add Clubcard points to their account. If you have receipts with points you earned between March 23 and June 14, you can do so at stores at the customer service counter, but you can only add up to two receipts per day.
Asda tested a “virtual queue” system, which allows customers to connect to the remote queue and wait in their car to enter the supermarket – avoiding standing for long periods periods and limiting social contacts.
The lawsuit, which takes place at the Middleton store, is said to be part of Asda’s investment in longer-term social distancing measures.
Roger Burnley, CEO of Asda, says he expects “social displacement measures will continue for the rest of the year.”
He added, “It has become increasingly clear that Covid-19 should be part of our lives for the months to come.
“With two-thirds of customers still concerned about safety in supermarkets, Asda is investing in longer-term measures to support social distancing in its stores. “
The Co-op supermarket chain allows customers at certain branches to place an order by phone.
The service was launched for members by Central England Co-op, and allows customers to call a dedicated number if they cannot order online.
Staff pick up and pack fresh food and store closet items before calling customers to organize the pickup in person or by a volunteer.
Central England Co-op chief executive Debbie Robinson told chargeretail, “As a cooperative society, the support of our members is at the heart of what we do.”
“We know that some members may need help to get the food they need in these uncertain times.
“This is why we launched our call and withdrawal service, exclusively for members who may need this assistance.
“All members need to do is follow a few simple steps and they, or a designated person, can place an order and easily withdraw it.
“We are committed to helping communities access food and essentials during this global pandemic and this is just another way to continue to do so.”
The low-budget supermarket chain Lidl is trying out a new system that allows everyone to skip all the queues – both to enter the store and at checkouts.
The German retailer is currently testing the system with its sister company Kaufland at several sites in Poland.
If successful, the method is likely to be rolled out across the UK.
Lidl is currently testing a new click and collect system – familiar to buyers of some of the big retail brands, but completely new to the budget industry.
According to customers who order online, groceries are picked up on the shelves and packed by Lidl employees and picked up at an agreed time.
Lidl had planned to test the system in Germany before moving to Poland and says it will be extended if it works and proves popular.
Lidl is rolling out a number of digital initiatives, including lockers in 24 stores in London, Birmingham and Manchester, where customers can pick up the packages they order online from other retailers.
This week, Aldi introduced a three-color light system at store entrances. These are designed to control the number of customers inside at any given time, to help keep buyers and staff safe.
The automated system signals a green light when customers can enter and a red light when they have to wait outside. The system was successfully tested and rolled out nationwide this week.
The signs are designed to respect the limits of the customers of each store so that the people inside can respect the rule of the social distance of two meters.
Customers queuing outside are always asked to give priority to NHS and blue light workers, who are allowed to go to the front of the queue when they arrive.
Richard Thornton, director of communications for Aldi, said: “The protection and security of our customers and employees is our top priority and this new system is a precise and effective means of enabling us to control the number of customers in stores.
“The test of the system has been well received by our customers and we will gradually roll out this new social distancing measure nationwide starting this week.”
Aldi will continue to implement other social distancing measures in stores, including protective screens at checkouts, markers in workshops to help people keep their distance and hand sanitizers and wipes for customers.