Company News • 31.03.2021

Meeting Retail Customers’ Safety Needs During Another Disruptive Year

Retailers have taken steps to meet the pandemic’s challenges

The year 2020 was certainly a year of disruption in the retail industry, with COVID-19 and political unrest upsetting old operational models like never before.

After the initial wave of COVID-19, many stores radically changed store operations processes, adapting to customers’ new safety expectations. Customers drove contactless shopping methods, such as buy online pickup in store (BOPIS) and shopping by appointment. Many stores have been converting their physical layout and function to handle omnichannel distribution.

Thus far, retailers have taken steps to meet the pandemic’s challenges, updating their store operations with specialized processes that associates weren’t necessarily trained for. It also demanded new sets of safety and hygienic procedures: enforcing mask policies, establishing and maintaining social distancing policies, and boosting cleaning frequencies and thoroughness.

Retailers have worked tirelessly to remain compliant with governmental guidelines. But much of what 2021 holds is still unclear and trends seem contradictory. For instance, COVID-19 vaccinations are becoming more widespread — even as variants of the disease proliferate. Some retailers face major challenges to long-term success, while others are seeing an uptick (Lowe’s plans to go on a spring hiring spree).

Logo: Reflexis Systems GmbH

Reflexis Systems GmbH

Kokkolastr. 5-7
40882 Ratingen
Woman disinfecting and protecting mouth and nose
Woman disinfecting and protecting mouth and nose
Source: Reflexis

In 2021, it will require extra effort for retailers to pull some of these web-centric shoppers back into brick-and-mortar stores. Customers must be convinced that visiting stores in person is safe and effortless. They need to know that retailers are closely following safety guidelines and regulations, even as they inevitably change over time.

This means that, as we navigate the late stages of the pandemic, visible safety will be paramount for shoppers in traditional retail stores. A clean, safe store, with proper safeguards and indicators, will be a crucial part of your brand.

Experts have suggested some potential factors to consider when preparing for new safety procedures this year:

  • Vaccination will grow, and consumers who prefer the in-store experience will be heading back to stores, as a new RIS news article notes. This means retailers must meet the demands for safe, efficient and frictionless traditional shopping, along with BOPIS and other omnichannel-based fulfillment methods.
  • With retailers investing heavily in automation, and with smart robots doing some of the more mundane tasks, associates will focus more on serving customers face-to-face and boosting the customer experience. Again, this means safety measures will be crucial.
  • Customers in 2021 will demand a return to the experience-based shopping environment. This means keeping them safe, while providing them such things as data-driven shopping opportunities (special promotions and discounts) delivered and guided via mobile apps.


Empowering Safe Stores by Simplifying Store Execution

This new normal will offer continued demands to operations and safety. Are you relying on non-standardized, multichannel, undirected email or phone-based systems? Are managers and employees improvising on paper or via personal text-based messaging? These traditional, outdated, and ad-hoc systems have many potential gaps that can slow communication and the execution of critical safety procedures.

Investing in modern, mobile communications and real-time task management solutions will help you meet these new demands, bolstering any efforts to provide for customers’ evolving safety needs.

These solutions streamline store execution processes by enabling five key functions:

1. Messaging prioritization: It’s crucial that key safety messages reach the associates and managers that most need to receive them. This can involve using filters or color-coded schemes to ensure the most important safety communications and instructions are implemented as quickly as possible.

2. Management by exception: Managers should be able to immediately view the status of all safety related communications and tasks, such as a product recall or a disruptive event that might require the closure of a store or section. Managers can then proactively target any tasks or messages that appear to have been lost or not acted on.

3. Gatekeeping for emails: Headquarters should be capable of filtering through the messages and making sure the right locations and people get the right safety messages. Corporate or regional executives can ensure the tone and presentation of the communications are consistent. And they must be sure that tasks and instructions go only to those people and stores that need them, and that these communications aren’t lost in the general flurry of emails.

4. Collect feedback in-depth: Managers can create and share checklists and surveys about what store managers and employees face on the front line. For instance, do associates feel safe interacting with customers and other associates? If not, what is the best way to handle this? Collecting feedback will break down the disconnect between the office and store floor.

5. Real-time, two-way communication: As we know, situations change fast. Federal, state, and municipal agencies will continue to issue directives that demand rapid action. Crises may arise at your stores in the blink of an eye. To prevent issues caused by slow and cumbersome messaging processes, retailers can improve their operational agility by leveraging real-time communication solutions. For instance, if an employee tests positive for COVID-19 or has a high temp, the system can share this information and trigger a best-practice automated response. Associates and managers alike will receive appropriate alerts, and react as needed as quickly as possible.

We can never totally know what the future of retail will be or its safety demands. However, we can always have the solutions in place to enable successful safety communications. To learn more about how streamlining communication and store execution can prepare you for a post-pandemic future, contact us at! 

related articles:

popular articles:

Thumbnail-Photo: Denmarks first sustainable DIY store has great success...
30.10.2020   #sustainability #electronic shelf labels (ESL)

Denmark's first sustainable DIY store has great success

Electronic price tags provide price and product information

In February 2020, STARK opened its doors to a whole new and sustainable DIY store in Hørsholm (Denmark), which will make it easier for customers to build sustainably. The store has got a flying start despite Corona and general restrictions in ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Southeast Asian online and offline health and beauty partnership...
06.02.2021   #online trading #e-commerce

Southeast Asian online and offline health and beauty partnership

Grab brings beauty products from over 2,200 Watsons stores to customers’ doorsteps

A.S. Watson Group, an international health and beauty retailer, and Grab, Southeast Asia’s super app, announced the largest O+O (online and offline) health and beauty partnership in Southeast Asia, spanning across six Southeast Asian markets ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Successful co-op association has the largest profit in the country...
24.12.2020   #electronic shelf labels (ESL) #price labelling

Successful co-op association has the largest profit in the country

The local Kvickly store has found the recipe for making profit. In the future, even more energy will be spent on customers and staff members

Electronic shelf labels play a crucial role here.

Thumbnail-Photo: The rise of the virtual fitting room with the corona pandemic?...
30.11.2020   #fashion #virtual reality

The rise of the virtual fitting room with the corona pandemic?

Trying on clothes via AI, AR or VR

The rising usage of smartphones is expected to take the virtual fitting room market to $19,250.4 million by 2030, from $3,128.6 million in 2019, at an 18.5% CAGR between 2020 and 2030.A virtual fitting room is a digital representation of a fitting ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Checkout-free hotel convenience store in Yokohama, Japan...
17.02.2021   #self-checkout systems #self service

Checkout-free hotel convenience store in Yokohama, Japan

Using biometric authentication technology

Zippin announced the launch of its latest retail format: a hotel convenience store. Zippin's partner, Fujitsu, the leading systems integrator in Japan, has worked with Koyo Group to implement the world's first checkout-free store within a ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Retail grocery chain implementing sterile cart system...
05.11.2020   #coronavirus #hygiene

Retail grocery chain implementing sterile cart system

Hy-Vee uses a hospital-grade, automated cleaning system for shopping carts

Hy-Vee, Inc. is introducing an automated cleaning system that fully cleans and sanitizes shopping carts after every use. By mid-November, more than 200 Hy-Vee stores across its eight-state region will have a Sterile Cart system in operation.This ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Automated grocery PickUp kiosk for contactless grocery service...
11.01.2021   #coronavirus #kiosk terminals

Automated grocery PickUp kiosk for contactless grocery service

Albertsons Companies debuts kiosk at Jewel-Osco store in Chicago

Albertsons Companies announced that it is the first American grocer to pilot an automated and contactless grocery PickUp kiosk. The kiosk, located at one of its Jewel-Osco stores in Chicago, demonstrates continued expansion of the company’s ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Robotic canteen set to change the global food and hospitality industry...
10.12.2020   #food retail #food technology

Robotic canteen set to change the global food and hospitality industry

Karakuri showcasing its pre-production machine

Karakuri, a food robotics company, lifts the lid to unveil the world’s first automated canteen to make meals, the DK-One. Karakuri’s robotic system will revolutionise how and what we eat in restaurants, canteens, buffets, hotels and ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Beauty shoppers won’t try new products when shopping online...
26.11.2020   #online trading #e-commerce

Beauty shoppers won’t try new products when shopping online

‘Virtual’ try-on technology positively impacts 45% of beauty shoppers

While nearly half (44%) of beauty shoppers in a new survey agree that they have bought more beauty and skincare products online (rather than in store) over the last 6 months, the research reveals that 56% (rising to 62% among female shoppers) tend ...

Thumbnail-Photo: AR: Touchless virtual makeup try-on solutions...
02.11.2020   #coronavirus #award

AR: Touchless virtual makeup try-on solutions

e-COSMETIC 360 Award winner for groundbreaking innovation in Beauty Tech category

Perfect Corp. is named a winner of the e-COSMETIC 360 Award in the Beauty Tech category. The special announcement took place at the virtual event on October 12 & 13. The winners were selected on the basis of criteria such as the innovative ...


Delfi Technologies GmbH
Delfi Technologies GmbH
Landgraben 75
24232 Schönkirchen
APG Cash Drawer
APG Cash Drawer
4 The Drove
BN9 0LA Newhaven
GMO Registry, Inc.
GMO Registry, Inc.
Cerulean Tower, 26-1 / Sakuragaoka-cho, Shibuya-ku,
150-8512 Tokyo
SALTO Systems GmbH
SALTO Systems GmbH
Schwelmer Str. 245
42389 Wuppertal
Axis Communications GmbH
Axis Communications GmbH
Adalperostraße 86
85737 Ismaning
Reflexis Systems GmbH
Reflexis Systems GmbH
Kokkolastr. 5-7
40882 Ratingen
Citizen Systems Europe GmbH
Citizen Systems Europe GmbH
Otto-Hirsch-Brücken 17
70329 Stuttgart