As many countries around the world are currently in some form of lockdown to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, the hospitality industry has been one of the hardest hit by the new restrictions. Restaurants and breweries in particular have had to radically change how they do business and either lay off or furlough the majority of their employees. Many of those that have survived the mandated dine-in closures are jump-starting delivery services in order to stay afloat.
Scott DeLuzio, a WordPress plugin developer and founder of Amplify Plugins, recently noticed a “leave at door” option when ordering food from a local restaurant. He thought it would be a helpful option for WooCommerce store owners to add and created a plugin that makes it easy.
Leave at Door is now available for free from the official WordPress Plugin Directory. It enables customers to maintain social distancing while receiving deliveries. The plugin adds a checkbox before the Place Order button at checkout, which reveals an optional text input for additional delivery instructions. If the customer chooses contact-free delivery, store owners will see it displayed on the admin order edit screen and in the order email. It will also be displayed on the customer’s order invoice.
DeLuzio’s Amplify Plugins shop focuses on plugins that improve the customer experience in WooCommerce. He reported that his products have seen more activity since social distancing recommendations were put in place. With the pandemic slowing down shipments from Amazon and other major retailers, local and independent stores have an opportunity to gain the confidence of new customers.
“I have definitely seen an uptick in plugin sales over the last month or so,” DeLuzio said. “I think, through talking to a few customers, this can probably be attributed to traditional brick and mortar stores and restaurants that are looking to move online to compensate for the lack of foot traffic that they are getting in their stores.”
The availability of contact-free delivery may be the deciding factor for some customers in quarantine, which could make all the difference for small business owners.
“There are probably a good number of local businesses that are struggling these days,” DeLuzio said. “Their customers are probably very concerned with the virus and maintaining social distancing, so if something like this plugin can help them out, even in a small way, I’m happy to have been able to put it together for them.”
Even when some economies begin opening up, there will undoubtedly be customers who will still be keen on having a contact-free delivery option, especially those among the populations most vulnerable to COVID-19. The notion of contact-free delivery may have a longer run beyond this current crisis and perhaps even become a permanent fixture on e-commerce checkout screens.