Grocery stores are essential to every community. As consumers, we rely heavily on grocery stores as solutions to our everyday needs—they are a crucial and essential part of our lives. According to Insider, on average 29-30 million shoppers visit grocery stores in the U.S. Monday thru Thursday, and from Friday to Sunday, another 33-41 million shoppers visit grocery stores. This shows how much we rely on the grocery industry to provide needs and supplies.
In a time where health and safety have become the most important thing in our society, it is more important than ever to ensure your grocery store is clean and safe to welcome consumers.
A survey conducted by Ipsos found that 62% of those surveyed would stop shopping at a store that is not taking health and safety seriously. Nick Mercurio, executive vice president and service line head of U.S. Channel Performance at Ipsos states, “The ability to deliver on health and safety efforts is now the most important aspect of the customer experience, and it will be for some time.”
In 2020 however, according to research, online grocery sales reached $5.3 billion, and it’s unclear whether in-store sales will ever return to pre-pandemic levels. Therefore, maintaining high cleaning standards in grocery stores is crucial, not only for the health of both shoppers and staff, but also to ensure business once everything goes ‘back to normal.’
In this process, technology is key to renew the confidence of shoppers and achieve the highest level of cleanliness possible.1. Fleet Management Ensures Safe Grocery Shopping
One of the key indicators of health in a facility is the flooring. Dust, dirt, and other particles that consumers bring in the store all eventually settle and spread onto the floor. Therefore, a clean floor is not only visually more satisfying, but also impacts the health of everyone in the grocery store.
One of the major benefits of the intelligent cleaning equipment provided by ICE Robotics is the fleet management software. The equipment is offered through an all-inclusive subscription model that includes i-Synergy cloud-based fleet management software.
This software gives end users access to data like the activity and inactivity of the machine, the square footage cleaned and provides maintenance or error notifications and proving a confirmed clean.
These machine alerts might seem trivial but can be a significant help in addressing issues like downtime. For example, if a machine has not been plugged in to charge for the next shift, service operators can alert cleaning teams to prevent downtime the next time the machine is needed. Moreover, these notifications ensure maintenance is done consistently to keep the machine up and always running.
Using data and reports to measure what cleaning tasks are getting checked off the list each day is another important way a grocery retailer can keep their store clean.
Creating a grocery store cleaning checklist ensures your stores meet hygiene standards for safe interactions. Cleaning teams are faced with increased responsibility, so it is key to set the record straight and know how, when, and where cleaning needs to be done.
According to NCR (a grocery store checkout technology company) a checklist “helps reduce the risk of transmission while providing a visual reminder and process for employees to follow.” The CDC and the World Health Organization have provided guidelines to help set up a checklist.
The fleet management software provides grocery store retailers and BSC’s with tangible data to prove the list has been completed consistently. Through information like run times, users, and productivity of the machines. This makes it possible for end users to speak to a confirmed clean, backing up their performance with statistic evidence.2. Active Maintenance Keeps Machines Running
Using innovative and intelligent floor cleaning equipment like ICE Robotics floor scrubbers and sweepers can help cleaning teams to clean optimally. Their sweepers and scrubbers are powered by lithium-ion batteries that require little maintenance and are easier and faster to charge than standard lead acid batteries in cleaning equipment.
This not only saves cleaning staff valuable time but in the long haul even money since lithium-ion batteries last approximately 10 times longer than lead acid batteries.
By using intelligent cleaning equipment, staff’s efficiency and productivity can be improved significantly. This can be done through active maintenance, which means actively looking for potential errors or maintenance opportunities.
The fleet management software provides end users with all data required to do this effectively. This can reduce downtime significantly, which means that cleaning staff will spend more time cleaning and less time solving problems that could be prevented.
The time that has been won through intelligent equipment can be used on other crucial tasks that require human attention. This can make a significant difference, especially in grocery stores, since baskets, handles on coolers and freezers, displays and other high touch point surfaces need to be disinfected regularly.3. Autonomous Equipment Never Sleeps
The visual perception of clean is just as important as the actual cleanliness of a grocery store. Seeing and thus knowing work is being done to ensure their safety is crucial to give customers the confidence to shop in store.
This works in the same way as seeing staff wearing a mask or 6-foot social distancing markers on the floor. When the presence of cleaning staff and equipment is evident and on-going consumers will feel safer while shopping for their groceries.
A Deloitte report published in June 2020 found that 62% of in-store customers wanted to see surfaces cleaned after each transaction at the checkout. 59% were reassured seeing “extra cleaning precautions and preventions” when visiting a business.
How, when and what a retailer cleans gives customers an impression of store operations. Customers might notice dirt, dust, and a lack of masks and gloves but viruses are invisible, so it’s important that customers also witness ongoing disinfecting practices.
The presence of autonomous cleaning equipment, like the autonomous floor scrubber EMMA by ICE Robotics, can boost this perception of clean. Not only does autonomous equipment clean thoroughly and consistently but their presence during shopping hours is also important to impress clients.
The impression your store makes can have a lasting impact on brand image, which can ensure consumers return because they feel safe to shop there.
Moreover, the autonomous scrubber can free up staff to focus on other areas that need to be disinfected manually.
Research that cited a survey by the International Council of Shopping Centers showed that consumers ranked frequent cleaning and sanitizing as the top (66%) measure that would make them more likely or more comfortable with visiting physical spaces.
This shows that taking the necessary steps to show shoppers you are a store that is responsible, and cares for its community and customers, is important to future business growth and operations. Therefore, it is key to make cleanliness a core brand value, which means cleaning more, cleaning better and making cleaning more visible to clients.
We’re here to help! Reach out to one of our specialists with your questions, we’ll be happy to answer them.
For further reading, we suggest: Top Technology Trends Every Grocery Should Adopt in 2021!