Coronavirus: Woolworths removes more product limits for customers

Woolworths has removed product limits for customers on multiple items this week, with stock starting to return to normal after hoards of panic buyers cleared supermarket shelves.In an email to customers, Woolies CEO Brad Banducci said stores have been able to remove buying limits on canned vegetables, canned legumes, canned tomatoes, serviettes and most baby products, excluding wipes.
However, stocks of hand sanitiser, pasta and, of course, toilet paper still haven’t quite returned to normal yet.
“Another 1.5 million units of hand sanitiser will come in this week, plus another 500,000 packs of pasta. These are big quantities but with demand still high, supply will remain patchy in parts,” Mr Banducci said.
“It wouldn’t be an update without mentioning toilet paper. Supply isn’t back to normal yet, BUT it continues to improve as demand tapers, with “only” 11.5 million rolls sold this week (versus 15m last week and 20m the week before) and lots more coming.”
RELATED: Follow the latest coronavirus updates
By Sunday, 95 per cent of Woolworths stores are expected to be equipped with new customer hand sanitiser station at the entrance, with all shoppers encouraged to sanitise their hands before entering the store.
Clear screens between self-service “assisted” check-outs will also be installed in 200 stores by early next week, with others to follow.
“We continue to work on additional ways to keep us all collectively safe, with more to come on those as we roll them out,” Mr Banducci said in the email.
The email also laid out some of the changing habits of shoppers since strict distancing measures were put in place.
Australians are shopping less often but buying more products when they do, with shopping trips occurring more in the mornings and less on the weekend.
“The use of the Woolworths App is up 320 per cent, driven by viewing our digital catalogue, planning a physical shop and online shopping itself,” Mr Banducci said.
“Traffic to our website has more than doubled, especially by those looking for recipe inspiration. And in April so far, cash payments in store are down 35 per cent as we increasingly tap-and-go.”
There is also a higher demand for products relating to baking, breakfast, cleaning and self-care.
In the email, Mr Banducci noted waiting times for priority assistance home deliveries were down “dramatically”.
“Phone wait times are down to 30 seconds from 27 minutes two weeks ago, with approval typically within the hour once the form is submitted,” he said.
“We have significantly more windows available for Home Delivery, but demand remains high, especially as we prioritise our most vulnerable customers. Please check our website as we’re adding more windows every day.
“Community Pick-up is off to a terrific start with around 30,000 orders this week, allowing someone in the community to pick up an order on behalf of someone else.”
The Woolworths Basics Box is now available for anyone to order for themselves or as a gift, with the supermarket giant also pledging 5000 boxes to indigenous communities in the NT and NSW.
“As we collectively confront the ‘new normal’, I am continually reminded that we are all in this together, and that it is only by being better together that we can succeed,” Mr Banducci said.