Supermarkets in Nakuru Town have introduced online shopping to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus.
Online shopping is the process where consumers directly buy goods or services from a seller in real-time, without an intermediary service, over the Internet. It is a form of electronic commerce.
Online shopping means going online, landing on a seller's website, selecting products and arranging for their delivery. The buyer either pays for the goods online with a credit or debit card, or upon delivery.
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And yesterday, managers of some of the stores told The Standard a recent government directive that supermarkets should limit the number of shoppers in their premises had forced them to turn to online trading.
On Sunday, Health CS Mutahi Kagwe also directed that queues outside supermarkets be supervised as customers waited for their turn to shop so that the recommended social distance of at least one metre was maintained.
Some of the managers, however, said they have been forced to focus on online trade since many people were working from home and would rather have goods delivered to them than go out to shop.
In the meantime, the officials said managing crowds outside their supermarkets was not easy.
Tuskys Supermarket branch manager Steven Kahahi said their online shopping app, Tuskys Online, which has been in use in Nairobi, has been introduced in Nakuru in the wake of coronavirus.
"We started using the app here in Nakuru today. Our staff have been trained on how the application works so they can effectively serve the customers. We have also supplied our staff with tablets to enable them serve customers using the online shopping application,” said Kahahi.
He said they have also taken measures to ensure safety of their staff and customers.
Kahahi said online shopping became necessary also after customers shied away due to long queues following government's directives to curb the spread of the virus. Others have just kept off due to fear of contracting Covid-19.
"We had to start online shopping so we don't lose customers," said Kahahi.
At Gilani's Supermarket, online shopping was introduced last November, but it did not gain traction until this year when Covid-19 became a real threat.
The supermarket's Chief Executive Officer, Faiz Gilani, said customers have since embraced online shopping to avoid unnecessary contacts.
“It is difficult to fully control crowds of customers, especially outside the supermarkets, as has been directed. We can only control those inside our store, but even then, to a certain extent. But online shopping has proved effective,” said Mr Gilani.
A spot-check by The Standard found that even though queues outside the supermarket was being supervised by staff, customers were not adhering to the one-metre social distancing rule.
Mr Fayaz Khan, the E-commerce and Digital Officer at the supermarket, said the store would endeavour to ensure enough stocks.
"We have been delivering goods to homes. Our applications also alert customers on new products, change in prices, available stocks and varieties," he said.