Retail Cleaning: How to Inspire Confidence in Your Customers and Staff
This article is our first in a series that details how to maintain optimal environmental hygiene in the face of COVID-19. Look out for dedicated articles on the Transport, Leisure and Hospitality sectors.
On June 15th, retail businesses will open their doors to customers as the government lockdown eases. Shoppers and staff will begin leaving the safety of their homes and venture into non-essential shops and they expect you to take every precaution that ensures their safety. People are anxious and earning trust means establishing your store as a safe and trusted haven.
Businesses need to elevate retail cleaning practices to the highest possible standard while displaying visible prompts that validate their choice of your business. Otherwise, staff might refuse to work and customers will steer clear.
Visual Communications are Essential
OKI Europe’s whitepaper The Benefits of In-store Signage in a Crisis explains that visual communication is vital to helping customers remain calm, avoiding confusion and conveying the government’s ever-changing regulations.
As measures like social distancing loosen and tighten, reflecting these changes through visible prompts can help mitigate potential issues and instil confidence.
- Floor stickers can guide shoppers around the store while assisting the observation of government social distancing rules
- Removable window stickers enable you to communicate changes to store opening times daily
- Directional hanging signage helps customers navigate aisles faster, which increases footfall and decreases waiting times
- Shelf and free-standing signage inform shoppers of policy changes like the handling of items, as well as product stock level notices
- Visible sign-off sheets spread around the store and toilets to reassure customers cleaning has taken place and continues to take place at regular intervals
People are Hyper-Hygiene Conscious
A survey undertaken by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSA) reported that two-thirds of shoppers (66%) of consumers ranked frequent cleaning and sanitising as the top measure that would make them more likely or more comfortable with visiting physical spaces.
Further to this, 79% of consumers agreed that they were more likely to purchase from retailers/brands that acted responsibly and did something to help their own employees during the coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak than those who did not.
Considering how much the pandemic has shifted the mindset of the population now and you can understand the hygiene levels your business must achieve to keep people safe, earn their trust and inspire confidence.
Install Hand Sanitation Stations Throughout Your Store
Establish sanitation stations throughout your store to encourage good hygiene. Ideal areas to install these stations are entrances and exits, which helps prevent dangerous bacteria from going in and coming out, while toilets present natural locations for people to sanitise their hands.
Common touchpoints like trolleys, baskets and door handles need frequent cleaning with antibacterial wipes to ensure they are free of germs. Sanitation stations provide an area to store these cleaning materials so your employees can wipe down surfaces while customers witness the process.
Some shoppers may even want to tackle the job themselves for their own peace of mind and all shoppers should be actively encouraged to wear gloves and face masks.
Implement Gold Standard Cleaning Procedures
Government guidelines stop short of explaining the cleaning measures you should apply to cultivate environmental safety in retail. At the very least, you need to employ a two-step process to reduce contamination. First, clean surfaces with microfibre cloths to remove dangerous biofilm, like dirt, grease and dust, then disinfect those areas with a suitable chemical.
You must implement these two steps in the right order. Failure to do this will leave hazardous contamination that’s ready to infect the next person who brushes their hand along the surface. Dry Steam offers a viable alternative to the use of chemicals as it achieves a safe removal of dirt, grease and pathogens in one simple step.
In these COVID ravaged times, the minimum you should do to protect everybody who comes into your store is everything possible. As a final step, you should implement dry steam vapour (DSV) cleaning. It’s simple and necessary to the provision of the gold standard cleaning that’s required to deliver maximum effectiveness.
Step 1 - Clean: You Can Only Disinfect Clean Surfaces
Let’s say an infected customer enters your store with dirty hands after labouring on a building site. They ignore the sanitation stand and trudge around, picking up and returning items, touching countertops and the clothing racks. Every surface they touch is now contaminated with dirt and grease, which provides disease-producing organisms, like SARA-CoV-2, the optimal environment to thrive.
Without thoroughly cleaning surfaces by wiping away debris and dirt with an approved detergent, disinfecting those areas is pointless. Disinfectants must contact the bacteria to effectively reduce pathogenic organisms.
Step 2 - Disinfect: Choose a Fit for Purpose Disinfectant
The last of this two-step process requires disinfection. Stay vigilant and select an approved product as not all disinfectants are created equal. It’s important to understand that disinfection reduces, not removes, all bacteria and organisms. Your goal is to reduce the number of transmittable viruses and microorganisms to the safest possible level in the shortest possible time, concentrating on high-traffic areas.
Scan the product label and instructions to understand how long you need to let your disinfectant stay on the surface you’re cleaning. It’s probably far longer than you think. Guidance ranges from 30 seconds up to several minutes of contact which deems those in the latter category as inefficient and almost impossible to use effectively in a retail setting.
Step 3 - Decontaminate: Provide Maximum Safety in Retail Environments
Manual cleaning and disinfecting reduce pathogenic organisms but dry steam vapour (DSV) decontaminates surfaces and eliminates all biofilm and up to 99.9999% of all microbial contamination. Dry steam vapour fights against bacteria and viruses on three fronts with thermal and chemical disinfection and decontamination.
Instead of wiping surfaces clean with detergent, applying disinfectant and waiting for the chemical to take effect, dry steam vapour tackles both tasks at the same time while rendering all surfaces contamination free.
Tricky areas that cleaners would struggle to reach, or even see, are easily decontaminated while porous surfaces – like unvarnished wood - and non-smooth, textured and rough surfaces that harbour biofilm are easily penetrated to eliminate contaminants.
Retail Cleaning: Deliver the Gold Standard of Environmental Safety
Inspiring confidence in your customers and staff during this pandemic is key to winning repeat business, encouraging staff to work and limiting the mental effects of the virus. Hyper-hygiene conscious people demand and deserve the gold standard of environmental safety and the reassurance that you’ve adhered to government guidelines.
At Osprey Deepclean, we’ve dedicated 20 years to engineering the most innovative and cutting-edge technology to help tackle the spread of viral transmissions like SARS-CoV-2. Tested in healthcare settings and used in hospitals, our products can help you reach for those levels as we fight to exist alongside this dangerous virus.
Osprey Deepclean created the Robby range and SteamCare Range to improve environmental and healthcare hygiene standards but designed it to meet your commercial needs.
If you want to learn more about how you can create the safest possible environment and inspire confidence, contact us here and we’ll help you achieve your goal.