It’s the most wonderful time of the year – usually. By now, the UK’s busiest season for retail is normally in full swing, with heaving high streets thronged with shoppers on the hunt for festive bargains to complete their gift lists.
It’s something we took for granted, until a pandemic came along and changed everything.
This year’s festive rush has been overshadowed by the ghost of Christmas present – the spectre of infection looming large as people grapple with tier systems and localised lockdowns.
Shops have been forced to shut their doors at a time when many needed to maximise footfalls to bolster their turnover for the entire year. Although most are now open again, there are very real fears that shoppers might stay away due to fear, or that festive shopping will lead to a resurgence of the virus that could decimate the January sales opportunity.
There are many factors at play right now. There’s the fact that winter always results in a rise in respiratory illnesses, due to people spending more time indoors. There’s the fact that SARS-Cov-2 is a new virus, and none of us really knows how the endgame will play out. And there’s the fact that people’s patience and trust in Government strategies to tackle the virus is at an all-time low. Put together, and even with a vaccine starting to roll out, there’s still much uncertainty.
What IS certain is that good hygiene still represents our best foot forward in terms of keeping this virus at bay, and minimising its economic impact. For retailers, this can be especially challenging due to high footfalls, a huge variety of different surfaces and materials, and the very tactile nature of shopping.
Why is hygiene such a challenge for retailers?
There are so many touchpoints in a customer’s retail journey that sanitising these environments using other methods can be seriously time-consuming. From the door they come in through, to the shelves and products, to escalators and lifts, to changing cubicles and finally to the checkout, the potential for surface contamination is mind-boggling – it would be a full-time job for more than one person to manually sanitise all these surfaces throughout the day.
Unlike fogging systems, which are a faster alternative to manual cleaning, Ramsol gives retailers the opportunity to carry out thorough and convenient sanitisation processes during opening hours. Confined spaces like changing rooms and lifts, for example, are a potential hotbed for cross infection and really need to be sanitised at regular intervals. With fogging, you have to exclude people from the area for long periods, sometimes up to six hours – but with Ramsol’s optimised 20-micron spray density, the mist is fine enough to get into all those awkward spaces, and heavy enough to fall out of suspension in just ten minutes. This means that with just short breaks for sanitisation, shops can eliminate the virus more quickly and effectively than with any other method.
Ramsol’s ultra-safe formulation also makes it ideal for retail environments. Firstly, the system is non-flammable and doesn’t require a power supply – so there are no trailing leads to cause a trip hazard, and no risk of fire.
Secondly, the formula is food safe and complies with BS EN 1276 – which is critical for department stores and other multi-purpose retail environments, where food may be served or sold alongside non-food items.
Last but not least, Ramsol is alcohol and bleach free, which makes it safe for use on both hard and soft surfaces – it will kill viruses and bacteria on everything from hand rails and countertops to upholstery, without staining, fading or other damage.
But isn’t this pandemic almost over?
With a vaccine now being rolled out, it would be nice to think that this pandemic is almost over – and tempting for businesses in all sectors to ask ‘why would we change our disinfectant at this late stage?’. The truth is that we’re standing at the very beginning of a new era in which events like those of 2020 are likely to become more common. A vaccine undoubtedly brings hope, but it will take time to roll out and offers little certainty with regards to what next winter will look like. It also offers no protection against other new viruses that sooner or later, will emerge.
The lessons we’ve all learned from SARS-CoV-2 are one we will all have to build into our regular hygiene strategies for the long term, which makes a convenient system like Ramsol a simple and sustainable choice.
Using Ramsol to keep Covid out of our retail shops can help in the immediate term by giving shoppers the confidence they need to come out of their homes and shop as safely as possible, which in turn gives our retailers the lifeline they so desperately need to survive into 2021. Tacking SARS-CoV-2 robustly right now also means there’s less chance of lockdown in January, helping retailers to step into the new year with confidence in their disinfectant system, and renewed hope for the future. To find out more about how Ramsol is supporting retailers through this difficult time, email us today.