On May 26 the U.K. government issued guidelines for the reopening of retail three weeks later on Monday June 15. Since that date, most but by no means not all retail, has slowly reopened. Some, such as lingerie and swimwear retailer Boux Avenue, for example, have only just begun to reopen.
And although each retailer is reopening in their own particular way according to their interpretation of the government guidelines, there are some things which every retailer needs to pay attention to.
Perspex and tape have become a familiar sight in many stores. But because the implications of social distancing and the new higher standards of hygiene by which we must now adhere, require more than simply perspex and tape, this article looks at some of the technology which should be considered for making a store “Covid secure”.
Creating a safe environment effectively and often at scale requires an imaginative deployment of the right technology to safeguard staff and customers alike. Here are a few examples.
Soon, the two metre rule will become one metre plus, and with it, the need to manage the number of people within retail premises, hospitality, entertainment or indeed any other confined indoor space, will become even more critical.
Many of the footfall counting organisations have pivoted their offerings to try to offer store occupancy management systems, with varying degrees of success. One which has created an accurate system for automatically controlling the number of people in store is Austrian technology company AlphaDisplay.
Using sensors and digital displays, together with a counting app, it operates on a traffic light system to show how many people are in store and the maximum number allowed at any one time.
We’ve all become far more reticent of walking into a store, especially if it’s a smaller shop as opposed to a large supermarket. And while the weather currently doesn’t present any problem in standing in a queue waiting to enter the store, it will be a very different story as we enter the winter months.
Qudini originally developed an app to allow customers to virtually queue in places such as amusement parks and museums. This has now been extended to facilitating virtual appointments and booking time slots in store.
And they claim some impressive sales upturn figures when this kind of technology is used, such as a 33% increase in average transaction value for one customer, demonstrating the link between this and a customer perceiving additional value hen they book an appointment.
One hygiene factor which has seemingly been ignored until now are of course touchscreens. They are now ubiquitous in virtually every retail, hospitality, entertainment setting plus many more besides. But every time we use them we are potentially putting ourselves at risk.
Dublin based Kastus have been producing antimicrobial coatings for screens for many years but have now developed a version which offers protection against the human coronavirus.
Founder John Browne, said, “These high touch points represent areas of high risk for the spread of infection and cross contamination. Kastus unique antimicrobial technology has been proven effective against human coronavirus and is helping people to return to normal life while enabling businesses to reopen safely, protecting their customers and their employees.”
Safely reopening is now the number one priority for all businesses and for retail, traditionally driven by high levels of human interaction, the challenges can seem insurmountable, leading to the risk of many smaller retailers going out of business through lack of footfall into their stores.
Deploying the right technology in a smart way can significantly mitigate this risk and is the key to unlocking businesses as they emerge from the worst of the pandemic.