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Cyprus consumers, after lockdown, show mixed feelings about online groceries

In Cyprus today, an increasing number of consumers shop for groceries online, but not everyone is satisfied with the results. Others find online shopping is just what they needed.
It is unquestionable that lockdown boosted these numbers, as chain stores, butchers, fish markets and other retailers came up with ways to deliver their products or offered pick-up services either
through their own website or by collaborating with already established platforms such as Foody.com.
Still a number of consumers told the Cyprus Mail that the online offer isn’t broad enough.
“You can’t find all the things you want online, so you compromise,” said 35-year-old Vasos Papa who used Foody a few times during lockdown to order from Alphamega. The supermarket had a €50
minimum delivery order and charged seven euros for delivery.
Alphamega does offer the option to shoppers to provide them with a similar product in case something is out of stock.
Also, the chain works to be flexible with consumers.
Nadia Heather, a 33-year-old with celiac disease, told us that at first she could not find any gluten-free products, but after making a personal phone call to Alphamega, the store added some allergy-
friendly foods on their Foody platform.
And Alion Salads and More sent a rose to the customer when a product she ordered was out of stock.
While not all stores charged for delivery, like Alion Salads and More and a number of bakeries and kiosks, some found the additional delivery charge of supermarkets unnecessary.
“I used delivery during quarantine because of the virus but it’s really not worth the additional charge” said a 73-year-old woman who had used a supermarket’s online services.
Delivery charges vary from €1.50 for PNS Food Supplies on a minimum order of €25, to €4 for FoodSaver on a minimum order of €35, while most supermarkets such as Athienitis have a standard delivery charge of €5 and others like Papantoniou offered free delivery for big orders.
Others complained about the lack of availability on delivery dates, and about the user-friendliness of certain apps.
“I had spent so much time on my phone with supermarket.com.cy choosing my products and it was not only until the very end that their site lets you know of the available delivery days” said 23-year-
old Yianna Evangelou. “The next 13 days were fully booked! I was very upset and never ordered” she said.
Supermarket.com.cy, which has had an online presence for nine years, offers free delivery of groceries for a minimum order of €45.
It is fair to say that each supermarket or retailer is making extra efforts to attract online customers.
Some supermarkets like Alpha Mega delivered their groceries in disposable plastic bags, while others in cardboard boxes. During Easter, FoodSaver added Easter cards in each order, while their boxes included recipes. Alion Salads and More also included goodies like apple slices in their cardon boxes.
To keep social distancing,  delivery personnel would leave the order at people’s doors, with some delivery people carrying a small stool with them as to not leave the groceries on the ground.All delivery people are wearing face masks and gloves.
But will people keep using supermarkets’ online services after the virus?
According to Heather, she and her husband still order their groceries online and they will continue to do so. “We are two busy professionals. Lockdown showed us how easy and time efficient e-commerce is,” she said.
Others discovered better products when they started shopping from stores they did not use to before. “I cannot get over how fresh their vegetables and fruit are. From now on I will always order
from them,” said a woman who had used Alion’s Fresh Salad Foody
app.


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