Much has been made of the retail sectors transition towards a contactless future, with 66% of the shoppers stating contactless checkout as a top priority for shopping safely while in-store. However, as SBFM explains, while the physical touch is reducing it is not the time for retailers to neglect effective cleaning and hygiene practices.
Brick-and-mortar retailers have had to quickly adapt to consumer needs by accelerating their digital transformations, enriching their contactless capabilities, and improving the in-store customer experience.
From mobile payments to curb side click and collect, and even checkout-free retail, the UK has seen a considered transition towards a new digital era for the sector. Despite this, there remains progress to be made, and in many instances, shopping is still not be completely contact-free.
It is imperative, therefore, that the adoption of contactless technologies does not come at the cost of the safety of staff and customers. Amidst calls for heightened hygiene standards and consumer demands for enhanced in-store safety, SBFM explores some of the key areas to address in any ‘contactless’ store environment.
Addressing high traffic touchpoints
Mentioning the concept of high traffic touchpoints may seem rather counterintuitive when discussing ‘contactless’ retail stores, yet despite developments being made in touch free technologies such as pay points, it remains virtually impossible to eliminate certain high touchpoint areas.
When considering cleaning procedures high touchpoints, from door handles to elevator buttons, handrails, shelving and shop counters, amongst others, should be regularly cleaned and sanitised. Widely acknowledged to be the most effective ways to stop the spread of infection, addressing these has become increasingly important during the COVID-19 pandemic.
What’s more, with an average 75% of people surveyed saying the washroom facilities in retail environments are extremely/very important – and more than 20% of people claiming they would leave a store earlier than planned if they know the washroom facilities are below standard – the ramifications of poor cleaning are hard to ignore.
Given that pathogens and transmittable diseases can survive for hours, or even days, on frequently touched surfaces such as toilet levers, cubicles, wash basins, taps and entrance door handles, effective washroom cleaning can have a significant impact on shopper safety.
Regularly scheduled, high specification cleaning can deliver a hygienic, pleasant and safe restroom environment for all visitors, protecting against cross-contamination and unsanitary conditions.
Bring your own device (BYOD) approaches – which allow store employees and others to use their own personal devices including smartphones, tablets and laptops at work – remain the ultimate goal as retailers seek to better safeguard staff and store visitors in the new contactless era.
Such strategies, however, remain largely in their infancy, with many large-scale stores still preferring more traditional Scan-and-Go services and focusing their contactless efforts on the checkout process.
If left unaddressed in your cleaning strategy, this can leave great vulnerabilities when it comes to hygiene in the physical retail space. As such, it is essential that cleaning operatives target devices that are likely to be shared and touched by a multitude of customers throughout any given day.
While contactless technology can do a great deal to effectively eliminate touch points in-store, regardless of the outlet customers still must walk in and out of the building. High footfall areas such as store entrances – if not cleaned effectively – can have a severely detrimental impact on hygiene and cleanliness. Particularly given that 80% of dirt in buildings comes in off the street on customers’ shoes.
Foot traffic is unavoidable, but effective carpet cleaning regimes can go a long way to addressing its impact on carpeted areas. By integrating regular carpet cleaning in your cleaning regimes, you can leave a lasting positive impression of freshness on the customers who enter your store.
Your trusted partner in retail
As a trusted provider of commercial cleaning and soft facilities management (FM) services for some of the UK’s leading retail brands, SBFM is uniquely positioned to serve our clients in the sector with reliable, efficient and transparent cleaning strategies.
With dedicated management capabilities across our contracts, we adopt your core values, applying class-leading retail industry knowledge and experience to shape our service around your needs.
To find out how we can support your business, visit our Retail Cleaning page or contact us today.