Coronavirus Lockdown Leads to New Partnerships Between Companies

With demand for delivery services soaring, supermarkets are exploring new ways of delivering products to consumers' doorsteps.

By Dimitra Manivafa

Congestion at supermarkets, both bricks-and-mortar and online, is leading to new types of collaborations which up until a few weeks ago would have seemed rather incongruous. As a result of the coronavirus outbreak and the subsequent lockdown, online orders have soared, forcing the sector to look to existing businesses with expertise in online orders and deliveries.

It is against this backdrop that Greece’s leading supermarket chain Sklavenitis has decided to partner with the online platform, a ready meal delivery company, to dispatch certain products stocked by the supermarket to shoppers’ doorsteps, starting with the area of Peristeri, western Athens, where Sklavenitis Hypermarkets is headquartered.

This collaboration is taking place on a pilot basis under the conditions created by the coronavirus pandemic – and mainly the restrictions on movement. Sklavenitis sources say that this was a solution the retailer had long been working toward, but its implementation was accelerated due to the new reality. Efood was chosen because it is very well known to a large number of consumers who use it to order meals for their home or workplace.

At the same time, Sklavenitis’ online store, and other online retailers have been overwhelmed with orders, with the first available delivery dates being pushed back several weeks. There was a note on the home page yesterday saying that the first available date for delivery was May 5. For rival, the delivery date for an order placed on Wednesday was April 16 and on the Mymarket site it was April 24. Other supermarkets say they have no available delivery dates before the end of April, without offering shoppers an alternative later date.

A similar trend has been observed abroad, as in Germany the Aldi supermarket chain is now cooperating with McDonald’s restaurants. The partnership provides for Aldi to cover its increased needs at stores and warehouses by hiring employees of the fast-food chain whose restaurants have been forced to close due to the measures taken to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The workers will be able to return to McDonald’s when its restaurants reopen.

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