Interviewed by: Tatiana Katasonova\r\nNationwide quarantine in Russia is approaching. What can a business do in this situation? What works out and what does not? What is the degree of business\u2019s social responsibility? How should it take care of its employees and clients? Alexey Piankov, the CEO of petshop.ru online store, shares a few ideas about how his company is coping with the situation.\r\n\r\nWe have been able to handle it\u2026\r\n\r\nTimes are hard for any business now. The beginning of the week (17th and 18th of March) were the hardest days: the demand spiked. We had to satisfy it while keeping the level of quality and service that our customers expect from us. Of course, sales have increased, when everyone, afraid to be locked up for a long time, rushed in panic to buy pet food and litter. Now turnover is at a regular level. But this week it will take us a while to deliver all of the hoarding purchases.\r\n\r\nIt should be mentioned that our IT team managed the spike in demand very well. Our website did not fail, everything worked just the way they were supposed to. Though we had to increase delivery times on orders. We have no problems with stock. Special thanks for that to our logistics director, who set the things up just right. It is not that he was able to see into the future. We simply have a back-up stock that helps us to go through times like this.\r\n\r\nWe handled one peak, we are anticipating the next one, and we are ready.\r\n\r\nI believe that things can go in two possible directions now. First is that the situation with the pandemic normalizes and things gradually return to the way they were. The second one is that things get worse and the government has to impose a nationwide quarantine. I truly hope that in the latter case the government will give business some sort of heads-up so that people will buy everything in advance. The first peak of demand was caused by those who believed that things would get worse. The second one will come from those who expected things to go back to normal and failed to buy everything that they needed for the time of the quarantine.\r\n\r\nThe main thing is to keep calm and sign up!\r\n\r\nDuring the peak demand the number of customers doubled while the average check size increased by 80%. Now things have returned to normal. It looks like everyone realized that the prices are not going up and products are available in stock. On our part we are trying to keep our customers updated about our current situation and stock. That's why our clients keep trusting us.\r\n\r\nBy the way, many of them are signed up to automatic reorder. For example, a client can receive some particular item every Wednesday without ever needing to return to the website and do the order manually.\r\n\r\nSubscribers are our priority customers. First of all, the stock for their orders is booked in advance and it ships first. Secondly, we understand that if a customer has signed up for a certain product to be delivered every Wednesday, then the product is really needed on Wednesday. So it is our duty to deliver it on time.\r\n\r\nWe protect ourselves and our clients\r\n\r\nWe spent about 2 million rubles (over 23,000 Euro) to buy protective and sanitizing products for our employees.\r\n\r\nFirst, we disinfected all our stores, warehouses, and inside of our delivery vehicles.\r\n\r\nNext, we introduced the one meter rule. Which is now the minimal distance allowed between employees.\r\n\r\nThirdly, we placed sanitizers at the entrances to all the offices, rooms, warehouses, and production spaces. All of the delivery personnel are obliged to wear facemasks. We have introduced contactless delivery. If a client does not want to meet the delivery person, an order can be left at the door. The delivery person observes from a distance that the client received an order and drives on.\r\n\r\nIn addition, we mandated regularly body temperature checks for all of our stuff. We keep the registry to observe changes. If we see someone having higher temperature, we immediately send the person home. Next, he must do the coronavirus test and provide a corresponding medical certificate. Only then an employee may be allowed to return to work. There are no issues with tests in Saint Petersburg. Registration for tests is available online, and in every neighborhood there are hospitals that do tests. I did a test myself and it took me only 40 minutes.\r\n\r\nIf an employee is sick, we provide a paid leave. If a person can work from home, we pay a 100% salary. Today 90% of our stuff works from home. Of course, for certain categories of employees, such as drivers, delivery people and loaders, it would not be possible. For them we take all imaginable security measures. We disinfect practically everything, but probably cannot shower people with sanitizer\u2026\r\n\r\nBy the way, since there is a notable deficit of sanitizers, we decided to start selling them on our website. It\u2019s not our plan to make big bucks on it, but to provide people with the essential protection. We are waiting for shipments at our warehouse and will notify clients when sanitizers are available for purchase. These are small 150ml bottles that can be ordered with no need to buy any pet goods. I have faced the deficit personally when we literally had to scout pharmacies to get sanitizers for our stuff. The solution was pretty straightforward. As a matter of fact, we used to produce sanitizers for animals. So we got in touch with the subcontractor, and the guys there greenlit the idea. Let me highlight one more time, we are not doing this for overinflated margins. We just found an opportunity to help people.\r\n\r\nPetshop.ru is a responsible business\u00a0\r\n\r\nAs a responsible business, we understand well what consequences might come, if all of the pet stores are closed. We are trying our best to attract the government's attention to the problem and have already started the dialogue with the administration of Saint Petersburg .\r\n\r\nHere is what we have done to protect our clients and employees. This is our vision of the situation. Of course, we are pleading with the government to include pet goods into the list of necessity goods. It would be a crime to leave our pets without food. Therefore, we are ready to comply with any security requirements to keep the shops open.