Will store certifications make customers feel safer?
With stores open but concerns remaining about contracting the novel coronavirus, customers are seeking assurance that retailers are taking safety seriously. An industry group hopes to give them that assurance with a new certification for retailers.
The Safe Shop Assured certification program is being informed by a board of retailers, suppliers and retail experts and is meant to establish best practices for store safety and sanitation, allowing retailers to demonstrate their adherence to them, according to CStore Decisions. (The publisher of CStore Decisions is involved with the development of the certification.)
To earn the certification, retailers will have to demonstrate that they have fulfilled a checklist of safety standards and be confirmed by an independent third party. Upon receiving the certification they will be able to display Safe Shop signage, graphics and protective equipment as they see fit.
The program is a response to the confusion both U.S. retailers and customers have experienced during the pandemic regarding appropriate safety measures and precautions. The lack of comprehensive federal guidelines in the U.S. for the management of in-store safety during the pandemic has left it to individual states, municipalities and retailers to determine the best course of action for protecting employees and customers.
Some retailers have implemented cross-chain disease prevention measures. Costco, for instance, was the first major U.S. retailer to announce a requirement that all customers wear face coverings. Its announcement came in May.
Despite variations in how measures are instituted between retailers, many stores nationwide have upped their sanitation practices and procedures.
While the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still advises limiting in-store shopping, a recent survey indicates that adequate safety measures are letting at least some consumers feel a touch of normality.
As lockdowns eased nationwide and globally in early September, a Mood Media survey showed that 71 percent of customers felt comfortable returning to in-store shopping and 80 percent were okay with the health and safety precautions being implemented by stores.
- New Safe Shop Program Offers Consumers Certified-Safe Retail – CStore Decisions
- New Global Mood Media Study Reveals Two-Thirds (67%) of Consumers Have Returned to Non-Essential Shopping In-Store – Mood Media/Censuswide/BusinessWire
- Running Essential Errands – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Should face masks be mandatory for shoppers? – RetailWire
- Is it okay for retailers to ease up on cleaning their stores? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see the Safe Shop Assured certification being widely adopted and will convenience stores that participate benefit? Do you see such a certification having staying power and value even after the pandemic has passed?