Woolworths and Coles to set up dedicated online shopping for the vulnerable

It will be available for the elderly, people with disability, and those who are required to self-isolate.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

Woolworths and Coles will soon be implementing an online priority service to help support the elderly, people with disability, and those who are required to self-isolate.

In its latest update, Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci said in addition to allocating an early shopping hour for the elderly and disadvantaged, the company will introduce what it's calling a "priority assist service."

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For Coles, it said its online delivery service has "temporarily diverted to the Coles online priority service, allowing us to focus on delivering food grocery essentials to elderly and vulnerable members of the community, including retirement and nursing homes". 

While neither Woolworths or Coles have detailed how the new online service will work, they said it will be used to "support the vulnerable in the community". Both grocery giants said more details about the services will be shared before the end of the week.

As the two companies navigate through the high demand, Woolworths and Coles have suspended their click-and-collect services. 

Coles has also suspended its UberEats delivery service. 

"We sincerely apologise to our regular online customers for any inconvenience these changes may cause," Coles wrote to customers. 

Household essentials such as toilet paper, rice, pasta, and hand sanitiser have been flying off the shelves amid COVID-19 panic buying. As a result, it has left many shelves empty.

But Banducci assured that Woolworths is "making good progress in improving the flow of product into stores".

"Collectively our industry is more than capable of providing enough food for everyone in both countries. What we've been facing until now, is a short-term shock to the system driven by unprecedented demand," he said. 

"We've been pleased to see early signs of moderation in shopping behaviour in our supermarkets over the weekend and it's heartening to see customers respecting product limits in store so more members of their local community have access to the items they need."


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