Essential retailers are being urged to shore up their COVID-19 safety measures and ensure they meet regulatory standards as the country looks to reopen begin reopening in April.
Bureau Veritas, the UK’s leading testing, inspection, and certification organisation, has warned grocers, supermarkets and other essential retailers to assess and evaluate their COVID safety measures.
It warned that with “supermarkets now offering a greater diversity of services – from in-store shopping to delivery and click and collect – ensuring the same level of compliance across the whole business could be challenging”.
Bureau Veritas, which has been working with organisations throughout the pandemic to minimise risk, has urged retailers to “think outside the box” to ensure they meet high customer expectations.
It cautioned that why retailers now had more work to do thanks to an 85 per cent rise in online shopping, customers’ expectations of cleanliness and safety was now higher than ever.
“For supermarkets and retailers, health and safety has never been more important,” Bureau Veritas retail and hospitality lead Vicky Shah said.
“There are now not only regulatory standards to meet when it comes to health and safety guidelines, but the perceptions of customers too.
“Savvy shoppers and their expectations of a safe retail environment are a big driver for supermarkets, who want to ensure their customer base remains loyal – and customer loyalty is now not only dictated by who can offer the best prices, but where the customer feels safest.”
It comes as non-essential retailers are preparing to potentially reopen their doors to the public for a third time on April 12.
While this date depends on a number of factors including current coronavirus transition rates, it has brought compliance back into the spotlight.
This has driven the creation of a range of new technologies, including a new “hygienic interface” technology that could drastically increase the number of safe interactions customers can have with self-service checkouts before they need cleaning.
Design agency Special Projects has developed an algorithm designed to significantly change the way customers interact with self-checkouts, ticket machines and ATMs.
Its “Moving Buttons” concept, which can be uploaded to any device with a single software update, will intelligently move the position of the buttons on the screen so that up to 50 customers can scan and pay for goods without touching the same areas.