After three months of basically being confined to homes, there’s been a lot of excitement about states starting to allow businesses to re-open and to allow people to start resuming some of their normal routines. But that excitement may be a case of a few lour voices overpowering the majority – as they say, the squeaky wheel gets the oil.
Research firm Ipsos conducted a study to understand how retailers are managing re-opening, and how Americans are responding to their efforts. The Consumer Health & Safety Index study used mystery shoppers in 5,700 retailers nationwide, and surveyed 2,000 consumers about their feelings to develop the first edition of this ongoing research series. According to the firm, two-thirds of Americans will actually delay returning to retail stores when restrictions are lifted.
So, do people think safety measures are important? 62% of consumers who say they would stop shopping at a retailer that doesn’t appear to be taking health and safety seriously say they are.
Perhaps shockingly, many retailers could be in for a surprise:
- Employees at 25% of the stores visited wore face coverings improperly or not at all inside their facilities.
- Employees at 51% of stores visited were not wearing gloves inside their locations.
- 77% of the stores visited did not provide any hand sanitizing or hand washing solution inside the entrance.
- 82% of the stores visited did not provide any hand sanitizing or hand washing solution at checkout.
- 64% of the stores visited had no staff actively cleaning interior high traffic areas, such as carts/baskets, counters, credit card readers, doors, and demos.
- 31% of the stores visited did not have plexiglass dividers at checkout.
- 58% of the stores visited were not observed to be managing the number of customers entering stores.
These are some of the basic health and safety measures that every business should be following. But, they might not be enough on their own. We know masks aren’t 100% effective, and we know people have a hard time keeping six feet apart, and we know it’s not always easy to keep track of how many people are in a store. The good news is there’s a ton of technology already on the market ready to help businesses in their health and safety efforts. Of course, it will require an investment, but if the alternative is that customers are afraid to come to your stores, it’s really not an option. On the other hand, if you can get a Health-Safety Seal to certify your safety measures, it seems customers would welcome that information.
Over the past several weeks, Pandemic Tech News has covered many new or improved solutions that can help retailers – or any business, for that matter – more effectively manage their locations from a health and safety perspective.
Some of them include:
- Touchless menus for restaurants from SpeedPro
- Needlepoint bipolar ionization from GPS to clear air in populated buildings
- Touchless security solutions from Evolv Technology
- People traffic and distance monitoring from Reveal Systems
- Touchless temperature monitoring from many vendors in the Kiosk Manufacturer Association
- Employee screening app from ENTRSAFE
These are only a few of the many solutions available, but they highlight the fact that health and safety have to be a priority for employers in all markets. They can’t afford to have a large group of workers fall ill – and they certainly can’t afford to let customers move to competitors who have better safety protocols in place.