How to create a hand sanitising strategy for your retail store

By Adam Taylor, Director at IDS Media UK

Washing hands regularly has been one of the key pieces of Government advice throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. With all non-essential retail stores set to open their doors on 15th June in England, shop owners have a responsibility to provide adequate hand sanitising for their customers to keep them safe while visiting. Is it as simple as buying a large pot of hand sanitiser and leaving it on a table at the shop’s entrance? Not quite. Here’s how to create a hand sanitising strategy for your retail store to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Choose the right hand sanitiser

The best way to keep your hands free of bacteria and viruses is to wash with soap and water, when running water isn’t available, hand sanitisers are a great alternative. Some of the best hand sanitisers last for up to six hours on users’ hands and work within 30-seconds of use. There are several different hand sanitisers out there but in broad terms they divide into two groups: water-based and alcohol-based hand sanitisers. Alcohol hand sanitisers are quick to use and less irritable than soap and water. They act quickly to reduce the bacterial counts on your hands and kill microorganisms on hands. It is the alcohol in these hand sanitisers that is the ‘killer’ agent against bacteria and viruses. Once evaporated the ‘killer’ agent has literally disappeared into thin air. Touch another dirty surface and you can become re contaminated, and you could pass it on. Water-based hand sanitisers make for a quicker and more effective application. They contain a ‘killer’ agent whose chemicals are dissolved in the water. Once the water has evaporated, the ‘killer’ agents are left on your hands, and continue to be active for up to six hours, so if you go on to touch a dirty surface, you do not become contaminated, and do not pass it on.

Strategically place your hand sanitiser stations

Whichever hand sanitiser you choose, it’s important it is visible to customers and easy to use. We advise having a dedicated station for hand sanitising that doesn’t block any vital walkways. Digital hand sanitiser kiosks have become a popular choice for retail stores in the current climate. The kiosks can be strategically placed in high traffic areas such as entrances and exits, tills, lifts and escalators to ensure customers have access throughout their shopping experience.

Educate your customers on good hand hygiene

Encourage your customers to hand sanitise with clear signage. Some of the stores we have been working with have chosen to display Public Health England hand sanitising adverts on their digital hand sanitiser kiosks to promote the benefits of good hand hygiene, while others use the screen for carefully selected adverts around COVID-19.

Expect a high uptake

A high street supermarket recently worked with us on its hand sanitising strategy. The small local store said upwards of 1,000 customers sanitised their hands at the beginning of their shopping journey and at the end per day. Expect to see your hand sanitiser well-used when you re-open.

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