There are many technological innovations and solutions available to Retailers to protect their employees and their customers from COVID-19.
In our most recent blog, we discussed simple steps retailers can take using signage and sneeze guards to help protect themselves and their customers from the COVID-19 coronavirus. If you happened to miss the article, no worries, we’ve linked you to it here.
In this blog, we’re diving into a more technological approach to virus protection, and luckily, there are a ton of very intuitive and smart innovators out there who have been able to create products that make protection much easier to manage for retailers.
Below is a brief list of the areas these innovators have been able to make headway in:
- Contactless Payments
- Temperature Monitoring
- Occupancy Monitoring
- Motion Sensor Messaging
- Disinfectant Resistant Materials
As you may know, the coronavirus can spread through physical contact which is why the iconic “6 foot Rule” has been implemented nearly worldwide.
The issue is, however, that the 6 foot rule doesn’t fully protect everyone during checkout because in most cases customers have to physically touch pin pads and credit card terminals to complete transactions. This increases the chances of virus transmission.
The good thing is that retailers have understood this fact and have made it a point to clean and disinfect their devices in between customers, thereby reducing the chances of the virus spreading. (Still, they just want to be sure not to damage their devices in the process. We’ve provided some tips on how to do so here.)
One other way of keeping people safe at checkout is contactless payments.
There are many forms of contactless payments and other tips available for retailers to implement. A few of them have been listed below:
Forms of Contactless Payments
- Apple Pay, Google Pay, Venmo, etc. (“Tap and Go” payments using smartphones and other devices)
- EMV with NFC Credit/Debit cards
- Online Orders and Payments for Pickup or Delivery
The list above is brief but each one of them go a long way in reducing the chances of virus transmission so they’re very important to consider.
It is vital that retailers utilize signage and other modes of information sharing with customers to remind them of the contactless payments they offer. This way, customers can take small steps in making a big impact in protecting both themselves and the retailer’s employees.
We’ll get into a pretty cool automated way of doing this later as well.
Now, what if there were ways of preventing the virus from getting to the checkout? Even more so, what if there were ways of preventing the virus from even entering the store?
Good news! These methods do exist and they’re very impressive.
Olea Kiosks and Bolide Tech USA – Temperature Kiosks
Olea Kiosks and Bolide Tech USA were both able to mobilize their teams during the pandemic to create a Temperature Kiosk that analyzes an individual’s temperature for anything out of the norm and can even prevent them from entering a building or certain areas of stores.
This. Is. Huge.
Businesses with areas that typically carry heavy foot traffic, as well as retailers, restaurants, and healthcare facilities looking to open back up can benefit from these offerings. They are a great source of confidence for people as they go about not having to worry about contracting the virus from those who are granted access.
But what about those who aren’t able to get into grocery stores due to this? Well, I’ll take you back to the “Contactless Payments” section above. Online ordering and curbside pickup can be a great alternative options here.
Everyone can see that resiliency and the ability to adapt is what will help retailers manage these very fluid times.
The good thing is that online ordering and payments coupled with the many delivery service companies available make it easy for people to get essential items they need everyday with very little effort on their part – so no one will be left out.
Once customers get access into the stores, then what? How are retailers supposed to properly manage occupancy levels so that they meet any local and state occupancy requirements?
Yes, states and counties have been making changes to just how many people can gather in certain areas at once. In mid-March, 2020, Fort Worth Texas required that no more than either 50% of the normal occupancy level or no more than 125 individuals (whichever is less) in local businesses could congregate.
SenSource Occupant Counter
Given the challenges retailers are faced with in keeping up with virus protection measures enacted by their local government, innovators like SenSource have created a web-based application that monitors how many people are entering and leaving stores.
The solution is very versatile as well. A phone application is available for stores to manually manage their occupancy levels, or a camera can be installed near their entrances to automate the whole process.
Anyway you look at it, being able to keep track of how many people are occupying stores helps Store Leaders manage the probability of virus transmission – doing your part to flatten the curve becomes easier when you know just how many people are within your vicinity to protect.
Motion Sensor Messaging
As mentioned in our previous blog (and above), reminding customers to execute proper social distancing practices while within stores is important in flattening the curve as well.
Signage has been mentioned as being a good way of doing this; however, not everyone sees signs (let alone reads them) because of how focused they are on their shopping, so the reminders don’t always register.
One way to supplement signage is to use motion sensor messaging.
Indyme – Social Distancing Messaging Solution
Indyme was able to come up with a motion enabled, automated audio reminder for customers to hear as they shop to help remind them to distance themselves properly from one another.
Retailers would place the sensor at a desired location in their store (like the cash wrap or other crowded areas), and once it detects an individual in the area an audible message will sound to remind the individual to keep a safe distance from others while shopping.
Again. This. Is. Huge.
What makes this even more useful is the fact that the message can be customized to whatever retailers would like it to say. Once the world starts to get closer to normalcy retailers can utilize the system to promote specials and deals going on, thereby increasing their sales.
Disinfectant Resistant Materials
This last piece of technology for virus protection is probably going to be the biggest in the future for everyone, not just retailers – though, given its nature it may take the longest to implement.
Remember how we mentioned the importance of cleaning pin pads and credit card terminals, and how it is very important to know how to do so without damaging the units?
Well, Honeywell took it even a step further by creating materials that are impervious to disinfectant damage for medical devices.
Honeywell took note that plastic housings are susceptible to damage as individuals attempt to clean them using disinfectants. Any damage to high-priced electronic devices (especially those used in the medical field) can cause many businesses to spend more on repairs and replacements than desired.
This makes it more difficult to provide quality customer service when devices need to be replaced or repaired often – Honeywell’s DRH casings eradicate this problem.
The good thing is that Honeywell has already implemented these casings in medical devices that are available for hospital usage.
The next step would be to create pin pads and credit card terminals using the same casings so as to prevent retailers from unknowingly damaging their everyday devices.
Interested in learning more? Contact Brett Busconi at firstname.lastname@example.org or (949) 861-2830 x227.