Life After Lockdown: Retail, Supermarkets and Hospitality

As many countries around the world begin to get to grips with life after lockdown, retailers, supermarkets and hospitality businesses face a particularly stark challenge to keep staff and customers safe. Many of the changes being made now will likely have a huge impact not only in the coming months, but also in the way buildings in the sector are built and designed in future.

Businesses like Leicestershire-based SDi have adopted huge changes too. The shop display specialist switched to making screens and face guards to help the battle against coronavirus and keep its workforce in place. So far, the Loughborough firm has made 260,000 face guards and delivered more than 10,000 pharmacy and checkout screens to Boots and M&S.

Couriers like Speedel will stand ready to help businesses transport the equipment needed to help with their gradual reopening. In this blog, we discuss how retail could look in future and examine some of the pros and cons of each innovation.

Touchscreens

The safety of public touchscreens and their role in the spread of coronavirus has been the cause of much debate. But whether or not they are in fact a hazard may be irrelevant, as heightened awareness around personal hygiene causes consumers to be wary about using them. Brands that have not already explored alternative contactless technologies may find themselves having to consider mobile order and payment systems or even voice activation technology. As a last resort, impeccable disinfection procedures will have to be put in place.

Hand washing stations

Hand washing has been at the heart of healthcare messaging around the world. Providing hand washing stations for staff and customers can not only help to reduce the spread, but also encourage customers back into your business. After all, consumer confidence is going to be key for any post-virus recovery, and knowing that your establishment has hand washing and hygiene facilities has perhaps never been more important. One of our clients 032 Designs Ltd have designed these amazing foot controlled hand sanitiser stations.

Flexible fittings

Before the lockdown, hospitality businesses with tables and benches fixed to the floor found it impossible to adhere to any new physical distancing requirements so were forced to close. It’s a similar story in businesses like supermarkets where checkouts are fixed in place, forcing Sainsbury’s and the like to operate every other checkout instead. Freestanding fixtures and fittings are better able to adapt to social distancing requirements, so must surely be considered as we move forward with a new normal.

Contactless stores

Amazon Go was one of the first businesses in the States to have introduced a contactless store with “just walk out” technology. The clear lack of contact between staff and customers has the potential to dramatically reduce the risk of spread and the lack of staff reliance also reduces issues with staff illness and absence. In the UK, M&S developed its own contactless Mobile Pay Go technology, allowing customers to scan barcodes with their mobile phones and leave without having to pay at a till. There are plans to further roll out the number of Mobile Pay Go stores.

Protective screens

The protective screens currently being added to supermarket checkouts around the country are likely to become a standard feature of new stores as well as a modification added to other businesses and restaurants. The performance of checkout screens depends largely on a cost vs safety vs detriment to the customer experience, but there are industry calls to keep such screens even after Covid-19 due to the levels of protection from other viruses.

Speedel is working hard to deliver protective screens to retailers and businesses around the country, in anticipation of any ease in lockdown. Talk to us about delivering safety equipment to your business today. Call 0333 772 2021 or email talk@speedel.co.uk.

Drive-thru

From Starbucks to Greggs, many of Britain’s favourite hospitality and consumer brands had already adopted drive-thru formats in city centres and at motorway service stations. While originally for convenience, this format now has an added safety benefit. The Covid-19 pandemic is no doubt encouraging more businesses to look at drive-thru or click and collect models. This is particularly important with hospitality businesses likely to be the last to fully open. This low-contact format of transaction adds protection and provides reassurance. However, many existing drive-thrus are adding payment boxes and additional protective screens to windows.

Digital Signage

The use of digital signage provides business with greater flexibility when it comes to conveying evolving customer messages, menus, and adaptations to store layout. It also reduces the human interaction required between staff and customers. The downside is the large initial expense and potential failure of the signage itself, which could result in a poor customer experience.

Physical signage

Whether it’s stickers for the floor of a supermarket reminding shoppers to stay 2 metres apart, or a banner stand providing step-by-step safety precautions, physical signage still has a place. Display boards can be quickly and easily branded and printed, and can also be moved into prominent positions as the pandemic and distancing guidance develops. Speedel has already experienced an increased demand in the delivery of print and display items for such uses.

Dark stores or dark kitchens

Home delivery has proved to be extremely popular during the lockdown and this doesn’t look likely to change, even as restrictions are loosened. The way we physically shop or eat in restaurants is likely to change for a very long time to come, so many businesses are reassessing their spacial requirements and layouts. Dark stores and dark kitchens may be the answer for hospitality businesses and supermarkets, changing their physical store or restaurant layout and investing in home delivery options instead. This could mean additional furniture

If your business is implementing any of the above systems and requires a reliable sameday courier to deliver equipment safely and securely, get in touch with us today. Call 0333 772 2021 or email talk@speedel.co.uk.

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