In the land of retail, November and December are traditionally the busiest months of the year. Shoppers are eager to make headway on lists and retailers are ready to oblige.
Today’s landscape is similar but different. Similar in that the season is still busy, different in that shoppers are utilizing online platforms, delivery, in-store and curbside pick-up as well as venturing into stores.
This gives retailers a lot to focus on, especially during the busiest time of the year. On top of that, concerns over the health and safety of indoor spaces are still top of mind.
As Forbes recently pointed out:
“Over the course of the pandemic, consumers and employees have assumed a higher level of cleanliness throughout the in-store experience. Achieving a high customer satisfaction score in these areas is important to maintain loyalty to a brand.”
So, what can retailers do to keep up with the cleaning while also fulfilling shoppers' needs and maintaining loyalty?
Here are a few tips:
Most retailers use daily cleaning checklists. Store associates are often tasked with working through the checklist before or after store hours.
It is important to continue to use these checklists consistently even during the busiest seasons. In fact, it may be more important to stick to these lists due to the increase in people walking through the doors.
Customers are very aware of the environment in which they are shopping, and neat, orderly, and clean stores are important to the overall experience.
In addition, with continued concerns regarding health and safety, it is even more important that your store appears clean.
By sticking to your cleaning checklist, you can maintain important standards that support an image that says health and safety are important, which translates to, your customers are important to you.
If you do not have a cleaning checklist, here is one that includes COVID-19 protocols for increased sanitization and disinfection practices.
Making sure your ventilation system is working properly can go a long way in helping to keep your store clean.
Since ventilation systems filter the air, keeping the system working efficiently is important.
By scheduling routine maintenance and cleaning you can aid in keeping your store clean, since the filtration system is crucial to keeping dust and dirt out of the air.
On top of that, focusing on improving indoor air quality is essential to the health and safety of employees and customers.
Poor indoor air quality contributes to many major health problems including respiratory disease and heart and lung diseases. In fact, according to this article published earlier this year, indoor air pollution is ranked as one of the top five environmental health risks by the EPA.
So, while the busiest time of year may not seem ideal for having your HVAC system inspected, it is important for overall store health and appearance. By putting it off, you risk dealing with a dirtier store and thus, perhaps unhappy customers.
It seems at this point we are all aware of how important clean hands are in reducing the spread of illness but reemphasizing this is important.
High touch point areas around the store should be cleaned throughout the day. Providing your staff with an ample amount of disinfecting wipes and cleaners, and making them easily accessible, is one way to make sure these areas get wiped down.
Training staff to wipe down keypads, carts, door handles, baskets, fitting room doors, and bathroom doors between customers can help to reduce the spread of germs and bacteria.
This does not have to take a long time, it can be a quick wipe and then on to help the next person, and a little can go a long way.
Customers appreciate seeing the extra precautions and this can even help create a positive perception of your store.
Flooring is equally important to keep clean. Not only should floors be a priority to help avoid slip and fall accidents, but also to support a clean environment that supports health and safety.
Dirt and debris are carried inside on shoes, bags, and clothing and once it rests on the floor it is easily kicked back up into the air. This is especially true during peak traffic seasons.
Consistently changing door mats at entryways as well as scheduling regular floor cleaning before opening and after closing can help keep the whole store clean.
ICE Cobotics offers Cobi 18, an autonomous floor scrubber, integrated with i-SYNERGY fleet management software. This software can be remotely monitored, which helps managers to ensure floor cleaning is done regularly.
Not only that, but managers can use fleet management tools to help develop more efficient processes for staff.
Routine cleaning is the best way to keep the floors clean and safe and can save time. If floor cleaning is skipped or missed it can take more time to get floors back up to standard.
Plus, routine floor care can help extend the life of your floors which saves time and money in the long run.
While retailers typically boost staff numbers during peak shopping seasons, it can still be tough to get everything done, especially the cleaning.
According to the Robotics Business Review, as cleaning workloads increase, deploying autonomous scrubbers and sweepers can help to keep floors clean while also freeing up staff to focus on other high-priority items on the cleaning checklist and throughout the store.
“The use of the scrubbers freed up workers to focus on higher value tasks, including sanitizing high-contact surfaces, restocking inventory, supporting customers, or even taking much needed breaks.”
Acquiring floor cleaning equipment through a subscription program means additional service provided by the equipment provider—who also has a stake in the equipment.
For example, ICE Cobotics has a Client Care team that helps monitor equipment remotely and works to address machine alerts and notifications. This helps to keep machines operating efficiently and can save time for managers who are already busy.
Keeping up with the cleaning is important. We can help. Contact Us to get started with a subscription service.