WESTERN Australia's regional retailers are experiencing a significant increase in demand for their delivery services, as customers try to avoid people at their local supermarkets because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Regional Retailers at the Co-Op Stores Katanning general manager Danique Tyrer said the centre had introduced its delivery service six months ago, but demand for it had picked up since COVID-19.
"Our newer customers are taking us up on our delivery option because they are either self-isolating by choice, or they are in quarantine," Ms Tyrer said.
"We're making between 10-15 deliveries a day."
Ms Tyrer said their customers were having a broad range of products delivered along with their groceries.
"People are not only having their whole grocery shop delivered, but we have also seen a massive increase in customers wanting products delivered from our garden centre, hardware store, liquor store, toy store and also our fashion and home department," she said.
"Because we have quite a lot of stores in one complex we're able to deliver them all in one go."
Staff who pack the co-op's products are required to follow strict hygiene practices, regularly sanitising their hands and wearing gloves which are regularly changed.
The co-op centre also implemented a new process to its delivery service to limit human contact.
"We drop the products off at the door, go back to the car and call that customer to let them know their delivery has been made and stay until they confirm it's been received," Ms Tyrer said.
"The deliveries are free for customers who are 65 years and over or are disabled, but we charge $5 for the Katanning area and outside of town its $1 per kilometre."
Owner of Yealering Australia Post Office shop Peter Stribling said he had also noticed an obvious change in the way the town's locals did their shopping, with farmers in the area now opting to have their paper, milk, bread and other perishable goods delivered from his store.
"People in town have started limiting their travel to larger centres like Narrogin and Corrigin, where they would usually do their weekly shop," Mr Stribling said.
"Now they are doing those bigger shops every three to four weeks and, in the interim, they are having their staples delivered by me when I do the mail run."
With Yealering's population at about 100 people, Mr Stribling said he made deliveries to farmers twice a week, and had recently added a mixed fruit and vegetable box to his services.
"The fruit and vegetable box has already proven to be very popular and I go to Narrogin twice a week to get the supplies, so there is a small nominal charge for delivery," Mr Stribling said.
"I think regional communities are taking on board the advice to live in an isolated way, and where we live it lends itself to that sort of lifestyle already, so the only thing people are really missing out on is going to the local pub.
"Everything else seems to fit in with their normal day-to-day lives, except instead of going once a week to a larger centre to do their grocery shop, they are now spacing that out to once a month and get their essential supplies delivered in the interim."
Mr Stribling said his customers had been very grateful for the delivery service, as it was saving them that extra trip to larger regional centres and risk to their own health and safety.