While online shopping has increased during the pandemic, consumers have missed the in-person customer experience that comes with visiting their favorite stores. Many customers are eager to patronize these stores again and are excited that they are reopening. As retailers welcome shoppers back, they are taking action to ensure a safe shopping environment for their customers and staff.
Creating a Clean and Safe Physical Environment
Many retailers have instituted regular cleaning regimens and are highlighting in their marketing programs all the measures they are taking, with the goal of providing transparency and extra confidence to customers. Retailers are making physical changes to the selling area as well. Some have installed automatic, touchless doors, acrylic or plexiglass barriers at counters such as the Divide & Conquer(TM) Table Shield, and directional arrows. Many are instituting social distancing policies and providing special store hours for senior citizens and high-risk customers. For clothing stores, new guidelines and designs for fitting rooms are being put into place. Customers are likely to notice redesigned selling spaces, including the ways in which merchandise is displayed. Automatic return labels are being printed along with sales receipts in some stores so that their employees do not have to come into contact with merchandise that has been recently touched by others. In addition to the visible physical changes taking place on the selling floor, retailers are making changes to the back areas such as break rooms, storage rooms, and returns areas in order to protect their staff.
Face Coverings: Plastic Face Shields are Effective and Welcoming
Retailers also are making the health and safety of their employees a priority. Some retailers are providing plastic face shields, a “friendly” and safe face covering, to their employees. Besides reducing viral exposure, face shields can foster a more cordial and positive customer experience that can help retailers rebuild their customer base and safely attract customers back to their stores. Not all face shields, however, are created equally. The TrueHero™ Extreme Coverage face shield, initially created for healthcare workers, provides coverage from the top of the head to below the chin, and around the periphery of the face. They are lightweight, adjustable, see-through and reusable, with channels that release heat and moisture to prevent fogging. Designed for all-day use, they are comfortable for the workers and comforting for customers, making for easier and friendlier interactions. Compared with masks, speech is much less muffled, contributing to a more positive customer experience. Face shields can be branded with the name of the store and can also be given to customers as part of a loyalty program. They are a simple solution to helping staff and customers be safe, healthy, and protected.
Combining Technology with “Human Interaction”
Returning customers are likely to notice their favorite brick and mortar stores are integrating more technology into the in-store experience.
Contactless payments, self-service stations, virtual dressing rooms and online purchasing with curbside pick-ups are likely to dominate the retail experience in the months and years ahead. With the increased use of and reliance on technology, it is important to maintain the “human interaction” portion of the customer experience. While social distancing has to be maintained, using face shields can facilitate this interaction by enabling more direct visual contact with customers.
Restoring customer confidence will play an important role in helping to reignite the economy. Those retailers that work smartly towards that goal by providing a clean and safe physical environment, giving their staff protective gear such as face shields, and using smart technologies, will go a long way towards restoring that confidence!
© 2020 Silver Disobedience Inc. (SP)