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Support for shielders from supermarkets

17 November 2020

In the first week of November 2020, we asked Aldi, Asda, Iceland, Lidl, Marks and Spencer, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury's, Tesco and Waitrose about what help they were offering for shielders. We sent them all the same list of questions.

Page first posted 17 November 2020

Edit: Sainsbury's got back to us on 23 November. Their response has now been added below.

Aldi:

In response to the recent and current lockdowns, we have seen the impact that the Coronavirus outbreak is having on individuals and in these difficult times it is important for us all to look after the most vulnerable people in our communities.

In order to assist customers who may be unable to reach our stores, we have recently released a home delivery service for groceries, in partnership with Deliveroo. This is currently being tested in a number of stores and is being extended weekly to include other Aldi stores in areas which Deliveroo currently operate.

Any customers who are looking to find out whether this service is available within their area, can do so through the Deliveroo app.

Furthermore, we have also commenced trialling for a new click & collect service. This trial is currently being conducted from a select number of stores and we plan to extend this further to include additional stores across the country as its success grows.

Customers can visit the following link to enquire whether this service is available in their area:

https://groceries.aldi.co.uk/en-GB/Grocery-Click-and-Collect

If this service is not currently available in their local store, customers can sign up to be notified when we are available near them.  

For any customers who are happy to continue to visit our stores, we are continuing to open our stores 30 minutes early Monday - Saturday within the UK for our elderly and vulnerable customers.

We hope this helps to assure you of our commitment to feeding the nation throughout this difficult time.

Asda:

Will you be providing extra support for shielders?

We have provided support for customers and colleagues who need to shield throughout Covid-19. This has included providing priority delivery slots for shielded customers, which we have committed to provide through to March at the earliest, as we are aware of how important they are to them. We have expanded the amount of delivery slots for all customers to 700,000 a week, meaning there is more availability than at the start of the March lockdown. This included providing priority slots to 3,000 care homes. We also have a Volunteer Shopping Card, which allows someone to top up an e-card on so that a friend, family member or carer can shop in store on their behalf.

Do you require shielders to have a minimum spend on an online basket to qualify for free delivery?

For six months we did not charge for the priority slots, amounting to 2.6m free deliveries. However, as other competitors were charging, we felt we could no longer subsidise these deliveries any further. As a result, if a customer has a priority pass with Asda, there will be a charge from £1 depending on the day and time of the slot. If they spend under £40, this will also incur a minimum basket fee of £3.

Do you provide priority slots for shielders?

Yes – we are providing priority slots to any shielding customer whose data is shared with us by the government.

If you provide priority slots, are these ongoing (eg weekly at a set time)?

The slots provide customers with a three-week view of available slots and can be booked as a recurring slot if a customer wishes to do so.

If you provide priority slots, how long will you provide these for (until which date?)

We committed to providing the slots until March at the earliest as we know how important they have been for customers.

Do you provide priority click and collect?

We do not – our priority passes are for home delivery. However, we have much more click and collect availability than during the initial March lockdown.

Do you provide food boxes?

Yes – there are a number of different food boxes available, which can be purchased online and delivered next day from https://foodboxes.asda.com/

Is any food box provision click and collect and/or delivered?

They are next day contactless delivery by a third party.

Do those shielders you intend to support need to provide evidence to qualify for any extra support from you?

Their data is shared with us by the Government. If they are registered as clinically extremely vulnerable and are an existing Asda customer, we will allocate them a priority delivery pass.

Do you need to sign up for help with you directly, or through the government portal?

Any customer who requires a priority pass should register via the government portal as requiring help with their shopping. Their data is then shared with us and we allocate a priority pass.

If sign up is directly with you, what are the contact details (website, email, phone number)?

N/A

Iceland:

Will you be providing extra support for shielders?

We have continued to offer priority delivery slots to the vulnerable since the end of the UK national lockdown, both through the schemes provided by the UK and devolved governments, for the clinically extremely vulnerable, and through the Local Authority and Charity schemes for the non-shielding vulnerable.  We are also engaged in the new Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government National Shielding Service System (NSSS) scheme to provide priority access to delivery slots for those recently classified as clinically extremely vulnerable and those who have not previously taken up the offer of access to supermarket delivery slots.

Do you require shielders to have a minimum spend on an online basket to qualify for free delivery?

We offer free delivery on all online orders of £35 or more, and only make a token charge of £2 for deliveries of more than £25 but less than £35. Our minimum order limit is £25.

Do you provide priority slots for shielders?

Yes, through the schemes referred to above.

If you provide priority slots, are these ongoing (eg weekly at a set time)?

Yes, customers are provided with a specified time each week during which time priority access slots are made available (although any other available delivery slots are also displayed), for delivery later that week. We are continually reviewing availability and capacity of our delivery slots.

If you provide priority slots, how long will you provide these for (until which date?)

There is no planned end date at this time.  As referred to above, we have continued to offer priority access throughout the first national lockdown and thereafter. 

Do you provide priority click and collect?

We do not offer click and collect services.

Do you provide food boxes?

We do not offer food boxes.

Is any food box provision click and collect and/or delivered?

Not applicable.

Do those shielders you intend to support need to provide evidence to qualify for any extra support from you?

No additional evidence is required.

Do you need to sign up for help with you directly, or through the government portal?

We would direct shielders to sign up through the Government portal, the new NSSS webportal or the relevant Local Authority or Charity schemes.

If sign up is directly with you, what are the contact details (website, email, phone number)?

Our Customer Services department is open and can be contacted via telephone and the website, however, we continue to receive a high volume of queries.  These will undoubtedly increase in the lead up to Christmas, which is our busiest period.  We would therefore advise shielders to use the Government, Local Authority and Charity pathways in order to obtain priority access to delivery slots in the most time efficient manner.

Lidl:

Thank you for your enquiry regarding specific measures in place to support vulnerable Lidl customers during the coronavirus pandemic, which has been passed on to me to respond to on behalf of the business.

As I am sure you will appreciate, our teams are working very hard to ensure that all customers continue to have access to all of the products that they need under these exceptional circumstances. They have been doing a phenomenal job of keeping operations running, ensuring stores are fully stocked, and customers are safe when they visit.

Whilst some supermarkets allocated specific early shopping hours to the elderly and vulnerable, we did not feel that this was the right approach at the time. We did not want to put social distancing and the safeguarding of high-risk groups more at risk. We also wanted to remain as flexible as possible in order to support everyone that needs us, from care workers and NHS staff, who may be working night shifts, early shifts or working weekends, to teachers, prison guards and those running public transport, as well as those in more vulnerable positions. Instead, we kept our doors open in the evening for as long as we could, so that footfall can be spread out throughout the day, helping to ensure that as many people as possible continue to have access.

In store we have introduced a range of social distancing measures, which includes positioning designated team members at store entrances to manage the volume of people entering at one time, and clear communication, including floor markings, to remind customers of the importance of maintaining a two-metre distance from each other when shopping. We also rolled out dedicated cleaning stations at store entrances, including hand sanitiser, disinfectant and wipes, for customers to use on their trolleys and baskets. Additionally, we installed protective screens at our checkouts and have provided protective visors and masks for colleagues to wear in accordance with government guidance. In relation to the wearing of face coverings, we remain mindful of those who come under government exemptions such as customers with hidden disabilities.

I hope this provides reassurance that we at Lidl we are doing all we can to ensure all our customers, along with the most vulnerable in our communities, are supported and able to access the products they require during this exceptionally difficult time.

Marks and Spencer / Ocado:

At M&S we are committed to ensuring all our customers can shop easily and safely with us and this includes offering additional assistance, where we can, to our customers who have special requirements that make it more difficult at this time.

To support our customers, including those for whom queuing may be difficult, we have introduced a Book and Shop service. The service allows customers to use M&S’s website to book a guaranteed slot to shop at their local M&S store – removing the need to queue when they arrive (should there be one).

Our colleagues in M&S stores are first and foremost there to help customers. As part of the social distancing measures we have put in place we have ensured each store has a greeter, who’s role it is to welcome customers and ensure they know what measures to expect as they enter the store. Our greeters have all been asked to look out for any customer that might need a bit of extra help when shopping at this time. We also display décor at the entrance to our stores asking customers who require extra assistance to speak to our colleagues who will do what they can to assist.

On top of this, we also operate a sunflower lanyard scheme for customers who want it. The customer just has to ask for one as they enter the store. To help build awareness of our approach we have rolled out posters across our store estate.  In addition, customers are now able to access from a website a face covering exempt card to hang on their lanyards if they are unable to wear a face covering. Where customers have the face covering exempt card visible, those manning the store entrance queue know to look out for them.

We follow Government guidance in relation to face coverings. If a customer does not wear a face covering, colleagues are advised to not bar entry or refuse to serve them and are asked to be sensitive to the reasons why someone might not be wearing a covering. Colleagues have also been informed to remove their face covering if a customer needs to lip read. Of course, our existing support and guidance to colleagues, such as our guide to colleagues on deaf awareness, remain available.

To help our more vulnerable customers to access M&S products without leaving their homes, we’ve launched a new e-gift card to make the payment process simpler for volunteers shopping on behalf of more vulnerable customers. Customers can now also order M&S Food products for delivery online at Ocado.

We believe these measures will support all of our customers to shop safely and confidently at M&S, regardless of their needs. If you require further information please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Morrisons:

Customers shielding can order via our doorstep delivery service for next day grocery delivery, info is here - https://my.morrisons.com/doorstep-deliveries/

We also offer food boxes which can be found here -  https://www.morrisons.com/food-boxes/

Sainsburys:

We were actually the first major supermarket to prioritise elderly, vulnerable and disabled customers for grocery online shopping – even before the devolved governments across the UK published their approved shielding lists. These customers continue to receive priority access to our online delivery slots.

Additional support we have been providing can be found below. Hope it helps.

Priority hours in stores

  • Elderly, vulnerable and disabled customers receive priority entry from 08.00 to 09.00 Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
  • NHS and care workers also have priority entry from 07.30 to 08.00 Monday to Saturday.

 

Extended hours

  • We extended the opening hours of the majority of our supermarkets to 08.00 – 22.00 and we are encouraging customers to visit our stores throughout the day to avoid queues when stores open in the morning.
  • In addition, we have extended our opening hours in many Convenience stores to 10pm or 11pm.

 

Volunteer shopping card

  • In the early stages of the pandemic we introduced a volunteer shopping gift card to help people shop for others more easily (helpful for shielding customers who want others to do their shopping for them).

 

Sunflower lanyard

  • We are supporting the sunflower lanyard scheme in which the lanyard acts as a discreet sign that the wearer has a hidden disability and may need additional support in our stores.
  • Customers who are exempt from wearing a face covering or struggle with social distancing can also identify themselves through the wearing of lanyards

 

Assisted shops

  • Though we cannot carry out assisted shops, if a customer attends with a shopping list, colleagues will collect the customer’s desired items and meet them at the checkout to pay for their shopping.
  • We have also introduced a variety of measures to support partially sighted customers, in line with RNIB’s guidance.

 

Tannoy announcements

  • We are reminding our customers through regular tannoy announcements to be considerate of others who may not be able to socially distance or wear a mask.

 

SmartShop

  • We have also rolled out our SmartShop to all our supermarkets. This service allows customers to scan and bag items before paying at a special till. This means less interaction with other customers and colleagues and less time queuing to pay.

Telephone ordering service

  • Alongside our existing telephone ordering service, in the early stages of the pandemic we established a separate line for vulnerable customers who prefer to place their orders over the phone.

Tesco:

We’ve made the following changes to support customers that may be elderly, more vulnerable or self-isolating:

To help free up more grocery home shopping delivery slots for these customers, we’re encouraging those who usually shop online to choose Click+Collect or to prioritise shopping in-store, where possible.

If a customer is vulnerable, disabled or elderly, the driver can still bring their shopping inside if they ask, but they won’t be able to enter their home if they’re currently self-isolating.

The UK Government has supplied us with a list of customers in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland who are the most vulnerable, and we’re opening up priority slots for these customers. We’ve emailed Tesco customers on this list to let them know that they have access to priority slots.

Tesco customers who aren’t on the UK Government’s list can ask to access the priority slots by calling 0800 917 7359.

We have more than doubled our online capacity since the start of the crisis and continue to offer priority access to over 600,000 customers on our vulnerable list.

The price of our deliveries is £4.50 (or £5.50 when delivered from our Customer Fulfilment Centres). A £4 basket charge will be added to home delivery orders at checkout where the basket value is under our £40 minimum.  The minimum order value for Click + Collect is £25.  Orders under this will incur a £4 charge.

For more information, please see our FAQs here: https://www.tesco.com/help/groceries-faq/?icid=Groceries_FAQ_Page

Waitrose:

Will you be providing extra support for shielders?

Yes, we will continue to prioritise disabled, elderly and vulnerable customers, including those that have been included on the government's lists as well as people that have told us they need our support. We will do this by:

  • Offering dedicated priority slots each week
  • Continuing our vulnerable/ elderly persons hour every week (first hour of trading in local branches on Mondays, Tuesday and Wednesdays)
  • During these challenging times, for those self-isolating, we also recommend that:
    • Regular customers that should be on our vulnerable list contact us to be added
    • If a customer is self-isolating we ask that they please let us know when completing their online order by leaving a note in the ‘Order review and payment’ page. We also ask that customers advise their delivery driver when they arrive at the property.
    • Vulnerable customers consider the dedicated e-gift card we have set up for self-isolating customers who are unable to get to the shops themselves, and want to organise a simple, safe and contact-free payment for groceries delivered by friends, neighbours, family members or volunteers. The gift card can be purchased online at johnlewisgiftcard.com, and can then be emailed directly to friends, neighbours, family members or volunteers for them to use in our shops. Customers can purchase e-gift cards in £10 denominations up to £500. 
    • Click & Collect grocery orders offer a minimal-contact option and we now have 269 Shops offering Click & Collect groceries, with 57 of these shops offering drive-through collection. Family, friends or volunteers over the age of 18 can also pick up a waitrose.com grocery Click & Collect on behalf of customers who is self-isolating. The person collecting the order must have the order confirmation number and a form of ID with them (either a debit or credit card, passport, driving licence or utility bill).

Do you require shielders to have a minimum spend on an online basket to qualify for free delivery?

Yes, however, we recently reduced our minimum order size from £60 to £40 - a direct response to customer feedback and demand for smaller basket sizes.

Do you provide priority slots for shielders?

As above (Q1)

If you provide priority slots, are these ongoing (eg weekly at a set time)?

We provide priority by allowing priority customers to see slots further in the future, essentially getting first choice ahead of everyone else, each day (at midnight) new slots become available for the day offered furthest in the future (currently 14 days for delivery and collection but subject to change)

If you provide priority slots, how long will you provide these for (until which date?)

We will offer them on an ongoing basis throughout lockdown and provisionally intend to extend this to as long as needed.

Do you provide priority click and collect?

Yes, as above

Do you provide food boxes?

We do not currently offer food boxes.

Is any food box provision click and collect and/or delivered?

As above.

Do those shielders you intend to support need to provide evidence to qualify for any extra support from you?

No evidence is required.

Do you need to sign up for help with you directly, or through the government portal?

We are able to accept data from each devolved government and match that with our customer records to provide priority as appropriate. We also provide an avenue for customers to self identify as needing our support.

If sign up is directly with you, what are the contact details (website, email, phone number)?

0800 188884

customerserviceteam@waitrose.co.uk

Our customer service advisors will be able to assist you.