Walmart makes a huge change to its stores because of the coronavirus pandemic
The days of bumping into one another’s giant shopping carts at the grocery store may be over for now.
At least when buying groceries at Walmart.
Walmart executive vice president of corporate affairs Dan Bartlett confirmed in a call with reporters on Tuesday morning that one direction only aisles were being added to stores in an effort to support coronavirus-related social distancing efforts. It’s unclear how many Walmart stores will have the aisles.
A Walmart spokesperson tells Yahoo Finance single-direction aisles are being added to stores in the U.K. and Canada. It’s looking at implementing them in the U.S.
[Read also: Walmart deploys temperature checks at all locations, offers workers gloves and masks]
As you can see from the picture from one of my Twitter followers below, the aisles have arrows on the floor that indicates traffic goes in a single direction. This particular store also has a sign at the end of the aisle telling the shopper it’s one direction only.
Already seen in Canadian Walmart locations. pic.twitter.com/f2vU42MynJ
— Andrew Davis 🇨🇦 (@andrew_506) March 31, 2020
While this may weigh on Walmart’s sales as aisles aren’t stuffed with people grabbing stuff from opposing shelves, it’s clearly the right thing to do at the moment. The big questions are whether this sticks in the post coronavirus world (it should) and if other grocers step up and follow Walmart’s lead.
Single-direction aisles are just one example of how shopping at retail stores is changing because of the coronavirus.
Walmart and Kroger are installing plexiglass windows at many of their registers to promote social distancing. Target has added greeters stationed at each checkout lane ensuring customers are at least six feet apart, which is the current government recommendation. Checkout lanes will be cleaned after each transaction. Target is also temporarily halting product returns and the acceptance of reusable plastic bags, both of which could easily transmit the disease.
The social distancing push has found its way to home improvement chains, too. During a trip to a Long Island, N.Y. Lowe’s, this writer had his self-checkout register unfrozen remotely by a worker. No need for interaction at all.
The new normal in retail (and yes, @3M masks continue to be out of stock) #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/bhoKAAJooq
— Brian Sozzi (@BrianSozzi) March 28, 2020
Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and co-anchor of The First Trade at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.
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