How retailers increase sales and improve every customer experience after Covid by actually showcasing Hygiene Policy

By The Hygiene Company | 09 March 2021

Effective Infection Prevention and Control display can be a reassuring meet and greet for customers venturing out to shop after lockdown for many reasons

  • Encouraging good Hygiene Practice for staff and customers
  • Cleaning stations become visual merchandising
  • Encourage Browsing
  • Making customers feel safe environment

Additionally for the retailer

  • Branding or Advertising opportunities
  • Long term cost effectiveness

Here is why a long term hygiene strategy can be used to encourage customers feeling safe and lingering longer in shops, while being not just cost effective but potentially a new income source.

New retail environment started after the first lockdown

Shopping will never be the same following Covid 19. Stores that recognise new essentials will innovate and find exciting new ways to meet customers’ needs.

Findings after the first lockdown

There were some great re-launch plans - last summer following the first lockdown, such as madebrave article which highlighted that already online had a massive growth which retailers needed to be aware of

During lockdown, people have been shopping online even more than they did before the pandemic hit—at least, that’s the case for 53% of those surveyed in a recent study. What’s more, 77% went on to say that they’ll likely continue to purchase online more, even once lockdown is over.

Opening in April

Whilst essential stores have remained open as we head to April non essential Retailers key priority is to get customers back and comfortable with in store shopping.

As reported in February 2021 in an adage article - Jane Ostler, global head of media effectiveness for the insights division of Kantar, says one byproduct of the pandemic and the shift in how consumers shop “is the expectation that brands deliver their brands and services in ways that meet consumer needs. Those that don’t will be left behind.

This is particularly true of a company’s Infection Prevention and Control strategies which is an essential comfort blanket for consumers returning to shop.

Cleaning stations become visual merchandising

As we are coming out of the latest stringent lockdown measures we have more time to prepare now than many businesses did back in March 2020.

Following the initial ‘gold rush’ then shortages for sanitiser and other hygiene products when the first lockdown hit, the market was flooded with various products and dubious cleaning practices by retailers that previously only had to worry about aesthetic cleaning.

Unlike the US where entry hygiene products such as sanitisers and wipes have been customary for many years, this was rarely seen in UK retailers - with the exception of garages and other places where ‘mess cleaning’ was required.

It is now clear in the UK customers really want to take care of themselves and their families, and it is important to message how this is being done when they enter a retailer premises

The big learnings for the Covid 19 pandemic were:

How germs and viruses can be spread - including using sanitiser that itself may carry infection through packaging - hence contactless and auto dispensers essential

That germs needed to be killed and removed - which is why antibacterial wipes have to be part of a hygiene plan.

According to The Hygiene Company, sanitiser alone isn’t enough to keep you safe. Ideally you should be using hand and surface antibacterial wipes made specifically for your hands or your surfaces to kill and REMOVE all germs that could be lying dormant in any germ-breeding space.

Whilst Covid-19 has affected businesses across the world, as we move towards the new ‘normal’ it's clear that Infection Prevention and Control measures are in place for the foreseeable future.

Its essential for retailers to encourage browsing to increase impromptu sales

Following the massive increase in online sales, it is essential to ensure customers not only feel comfortable entering a store, but that retailers can encourage browsing safely and thus make sales.

Whilst visual merchandising to entice customers into a retail premises with a view to engaging shoppers and boosting sales has always been part of a marketing strategy - Hygiene Products can enhance this.

Images branded for illustration only

Having sanitisers and wipes at POS and POP positions around a store not only promotes branding but also shows that the retailer is ensuring a safe environment for staff and customers.

Browsing has been one of the biggest casualties of Lockdown.

In January 2021 Retail Week explained an Emotional Connection was one of the key drivers of shopper loyalty towards a retailer through a shared set of values and beliefs.

Customers who have an emotional connection and loyalty towards a brand or retailer are believed to deliver more than twice the value of a satisfied customer, and 80% of emotionally loyal customers will act as brand advocates, promoting the brand to their social groups.

This valuable form of loyalty is driven by the “softer” elements of the purchasing journey, such as customer experience - which a visible hygiene policy can show.

The importance of browsing was recognised before the pandemic as this US article revealed, which is even more pertinent after such a long lockdown:

Kiosk Displays
explained how a recent article on entitled, "How Covid-19 will change our shopping habits," cites a 2019 study by online merchandising company First Insight about the spending habits of consumers in stores versus online. According to the report that surveyed more than 1,000 U.S. shoppers, "54% of consumers spend upwards of $50 online — but that rises to 71% when shopping in stores."

The article continues, "The same report also showed a stark increase in impulse buying when shopping in a physical store."

This increase in spending can be directly attributed to browsing — something that has taken a hit during the pandemic as shoppers cut back on the length of time they spend in stores. In fact, Forbes noted in a recent article that stores with capacity restrictions are no longer maximizing dwell time as they try to make room for more customers to enter.

Because of the decrease in dwell time, retail displays will need to work harder to convert shoppers into buyers. This means instead of encouraging discovery of multiple items, brands should consider promoting less SKUs on a display, but with more focused marketing for the items or category of products. Consumers will more easily be able to quickly scan goods versus spending time differentiating between multiple items.

In a time when browsing is limited, smart merchandising displays will continue to highlight products to the public that may otherwise be missed on the shelves or racks.

We don't just browse for luxury or style

In particular supermarkets have noticed that impulse shopping has decreased since lockdown

At the end of December reported that customers supermarket shop had a Focus on speed, convenience and safety.

Instead of strolling the aisles to choose their groceries, shoppers are now focused on getting in and out as quickly and conveniently as possible. Over the last six months, consumers have decreased the amount of time they spend in stores. Most shoppers have trusted items they purchase regularly and are less likely to browse the store to look for a new ingredient or menu inspiration.

Branding or Advertising opportunities

The first lockdown had so many unknowns that many budgets were increased sometimes without a clear direction. An article published in Marketing Week last summer shows Increase in Marketing Spend following Pandemic lockdown and this is likely to happen again as we ease out of the current lockdown.

One area that is a clear breakthrough in new advertising space in a prominent position is branding Hygiene Dispensers. Every outlet needs them. They can be a dirty bottle on a table on entry or an impressive dispenser which can be branded by the retailer - showing they are protecting their customers, or, can be sold as valuable advertising space.

Hygiene dispensers, cleaning stations, policy statements: Infection Protection and Control is an essential part of opening safely and ensuring customers linger longer - they should be part of a retailer's store planning.

Long term cost effectiveness

The speed at which the pandemic altered the way we shop and the shortage of hygiene products lead to an influx of substandard products and some unhygienic santising offers.

Showing that you care about your customers and staff is the first step to opening after lockdown, or to reordering for retailers that have been open as essential shops is best achieved by having a clear infection prevention and control strategy in place.

This also helps building loyalty through trust, goodwill and community is essential for retailers looking at the longer-term game

Built for Purpose

As the UK leader in antibacterial wipes, The Hygiene Company pioneered the WipePod Surface Dispenser, which has become a standard hygiene measure in many public spaces. It can be wall or surface mounted but also portable.

“We have developed antibacterial wipes which are built from strong materials suitable for the purpose. 99.9999% of all germs are killed thanks to the incredible effectiveness and they won’t damage your equipment either” says Bradford, “Whether it’s in the office, or visiting someone else's, prevention of infection and controlling germs is a must these days, which is why we recommend contactless sanitizer and antibacterial wipe dispensers for all offices.”

Long term policies for In Store Hygiene

The Hygiene Company have been in the hygiene business for two decades now and understand better than most why hygiene should be an ongoing concern.
As Britons continue to try and maintain hygiene standards at work, home, in their cars or outdoors, The Hygiene Company is poised to offer dispensers fit for every space and purpose.

“The way I see it, it’s up to businesses like us to ensure that we maintain the supply and quality of cross contamination products, but the public need to be aware of this to ensure continued use,” concludes Bradford.

They Hygiene company currently hold stock of antibacterial wipes, sanitiser and dispensers all of which can be customised or branded.

For further information or PR enquiries, please contact:
Kate Bradford 07957 597128