Adapting to the new normal - Using display tech to manage customer traffic
It’s been a long few months in lockdown, but there’s finally a glimmer of hope for retail businesses across the country now that June 15th has been set as the day from which it will be legal to re-open all non-essential stores. This is a tentative date, which is heavily dependent on whether or not the “r rate” (reproduction rate of the coronavirus) remains below one, but it does give businesses a date to work towards when it comes to reopening.
The world they will be reopening for, however, is going to be a quite alien one in which certain measures are going to need to be taken to ensure the safety of employees and customers in kind.
These are the kind of measures that would have been seen as paranoid or draconian in years past but will sadly become commonplace in the weeks and months to follow. But how do we instigate these measures in a way that doesn’t feel restrictive or intimidating?
In the weeks and months following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are two mantras that have been driven into all of us - “wash your hands,” and “maintain social distancing.”
On the former point, there is little that retail establishments can do besides installing hand sanitiser stations and setting-up displays to remind people to use them, though there is also the option of hand sanitiser stations with built-in digital screens that can help get the message across more clearly in situations where hygiene is crucial and hand-washing facilities are unavailable.
On the latter point, however, there are some rather ingenious ways to control customer traffic and ensure that safe social distancing measures are being met.
These are measures that go far beyond simply marking out 2 metres squares and directional arrows on the shop floor and could help your business find its feet in this strange new world.
2-way traffic lights
Traffic lights have been utilised on roads in one form or another for literally hundreds of years now so most consumers are well versed in how they work and the function they serve.
The task for retail store managers in the coming weeks is going to be to work out how to utilise similar systems to manage access control in their stores.
They could, of course, hire security to physically tell people when they are allowed into the store, but a far more efficient and cost-effective option would be a 2-way LED traffic light.
These are easy to install, no-fuss solutions that communicate plainly and simply when customers can enter the store and when they must wait, ensuring the store itself is never overcrowded and social distancing can be safely maintained.
This is a cost-effective solution that would be ideal for smaller stores with limited space and limited visibility. They could make life much easier for smaller independent retailers.
Enter/Wait fixed text display
Sometimes, a simple coloured system is not quite enough. Often, you need the message to be sharply clear and leave customers under no illusion about how they should act.
A fixed text display is perhaps the most obvious way to communicate to customers when they should enter a store and when they should be waiting outside.
The next few weeks are going to see a major increase in queues outside retail stores, particularly smaller stores that might only be able to safely admit two or three patrons at any one time.
In such circumstances, these simple and elegant LED signs could be a major help in maintaining order and helping customers and staff feel safe.
For larger retailers, they could also be supplemented with automatic counters that visualise exactly how many customers are in the store at any moment.
Digital access control
Finally, a larger, digital access control panel can serve two purposes - an LED display telling customers when to enter and when to wait and a space upon which to reinforce the 2 metres distancing rule.
These signs can be customised to your exact specifications and represent perhaps the most complete solution for those businesses looking to really take the situation seriously.