As lockdown restrictions continue to lift, retail businesses around the world are considering how to reopen bricks and mortar outlets while keeping their customers and colleagues safe.
As people return to stores, they’re looking for reassurance; they want to know they are safe in your store. By deploying displays, signs and visual merchandise, you can reinforce the steps you have taken and encourage them to play their own part. Sales Development Director Adrian Kingsland takes a look at some of the things you can do to help.
One-way systems are set to remain commonplace in retail stores, helping customers keep their distance while shopping.
If you can, rearrange display units to help customers to stick to the route, while reducing the chances of coming across a dead end.
Sanitation stations are ideal barriers, acting as an inexpensive and practical way to close gaps and shortcuts in your store.
Well-designed, eye-catching directional displays and floor graphics can also help. When customers arrive, greet them with a message explaining the one-way system and why it’s in place. Signs and floor stickers can be used at regular intervals to remind customers of safety considerations. After all, it’s easy to get distracted and forget the one-way system, returning to old ways of shopping.
Remember: Signs and displays don’t need to sound bossy or dictatorial. Reflect your brand and tone of voice so that the shopping experience feels less alien.
You may need to make considerations about marketing materials at the point of sale. The introduction of hygiene screens makes it difficult to display impulse items, leaflets and other items.
Plus, screens, masks and visors can make the checkout feel sterile and intimidating – especially to families.
But all is not lost.
Consider adding graphics and messages to the screens. Not only is this an opportunity to make the experience more friendly, but it gives your team a chance to engage with customers about a subject that isn’t COVID-19.
Have you considered whether customers are safe while waiting to pay? You may need to remove queuing systems that loop back on themselves, so there’s plenty of space between customers.
If this is unavoidable, barriers, banners and clear screens are a great solution. Not only are they wipe-clean and restrict the spread of viruses but they also provide an opportunity to display marketing messages so you can reinforce your brand.
Read more: PPE Production At BDH Tullford
Remove High-Contact Services
Areas of the business that require employees to come into close contact with customers, such as fitting rooms and make-up counters, may be off limits for a while. Displays and signs should be used to explain why – and how this affects refund policies.
Of course, there are some instances where this may be unavoidable.
For instance, if you run a shoe shop, customers want to try on your products before leaving the store. Consider adding fitting booths where customers can try shoes without coming in contact with other people. Clear acrylic is ideal, because it can be wiped clean and won’t block the light.
Reduce customer interaction with stock by reducing the number of items on the shop floor. Use strategically placed signs to explain that other items are available, but these are held behind the scenes in order to minimise the risk of spreading infection. All they have to do is request items from a member of your team.
It’s also a good idea to remove dump bins from display, so customers aren’t encouraged to touch produce to find what they’re looking for. Instead, place the stock on display units where it’s easier to pick the item of choice.
Of course, hygiene precautions don’t just apply to public-facing areas. Your employees must be safe behind the scenes too.
There are various ways of doing this. The most simple is the installation of signs explaining hygiene protocols in prominent locations, along with sanitation stations. Consider adding a one-way system here too, with separate entrances and exits to keep your team safe.
Bright floor graphics can also help to maintain the system.
Read more: How To Create an Effective POS Display
Returned items – or those that have been tried on – pose a potential risk to employees and customers if they carry coronavirus. Non-food merchandise should remain off the shop floor for at least 72 hours to ensure it isn’t carrying coronavirus. Devise a system backstage. This should clearly categorise products, using signs and date labels to show when items can safely return to the shop floor.
Mix It Up
One final point to leave you with: mix up your displays and messaging.
We stop seeing signs and notices when we’re used to them.
Where possible, update signs and posters on a regular basis; this keeps them fresh for both your teams and your customers. Even something as simple as switching the colours around helps draw attention back to your message.
Looking for more ways to keep your customers safe?
Give us a call on 01603 620780 to speak to a member of the BDH Tullford team. We’d love to help you find the right solution for your store.