There is a myth in the retail world that customers only started to care about retail store cleanliness after the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in 2020. The truth is that customers have always cared about cleanliness. Whether you run a small, medium, or large shop, cleanliness is a basic necessity for providing a positive customer experience, and a 2019 customer survey from the Service Channel¹ demonstrates this truth:
- 70% of customers who noted having a negative retail experience complained about a dirty store: dirty floors, messy shelves, filthy restrooms, smudged windows, etc.
- 69% of shoppers said a negative cleanliness experience led them to shop at a competitor’s store instead.
- 80% of surveyed shoppers said that basic in-store cleanliness was more important to them than “experiences” like high-tech experiences or other gimmicks retail stores might use to lure them into shopping there.
Remember, these numbers were gathered before the pandemic! The next customer survey will likely result in much higher numbers of shoppers who would walk out of a store without buying anything if they thought the store was dirty.
Boost Retail Health and Safety through Cleanliness
Keep in mind that most of your shoppers today have mobile phones and are not afraid to film or photograph messy retail conditions. After they snap the pictures, they will share them with friends, family, and the public all over social media. Your store’s reputation could be damaged by just one post like this.
But besides your shop’s reputation, health and safety matter the most. Maintaining a clean, orderly shop helps protect your shoppers and employees from accidents and infections that could further damage your store’s reputation and cause undesired legal ramifications.
Improve Retail Customer Experience with a Clean Store
Fortunately, keeping your store clean and tidy can protect your customers while helping them feel welcome, safe, and happy while shopping in your store.
Create a cleaning schedule for each area, get the right cleaning tools, and train your employees to respond to spills and messes quickly.
Some of the most important areas to concentrate on include the following five areas:
You might think nobody is looking down at your floor, but that’s not true. Shoppers will see spills and dirty floors and make a bad impression immediately. Even when people are not looking down, dirty floors can cause accidents that lead to injuries.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission says that ill-kept floors contribute to 2 million fall injuries annually.²
Prevent your store from adding to this unfortunate statistic with an easy-to-use retail floor scrubber dryer that can quickly and completely dry a large floor area (the CT5 for a small store, or the CT51 for a larger shop) anytime there is a spill or a mess. Although mechanized floor cleaning is more efficient and durable, manual equipment is often preferred. The use of a frame – such as the ergonomic Curvy frame – makes floor cleaning faster and more precise, especially in hard-to-reach spots.
Your shop windows may be the first (and last) thing a potential customer experiences in your store. A dirty window can make someone pass your store, but if a potential customer can look through a sparkling clean window to see your sale display, it may entice them to come in and shop.
Cleaning windows can be a time-consuming process, but the right tools can make it faster and even more thorough than older methods. Depending on your shop’s window cleaning requirements, one of the Cleano all-in-one window cleaning poles or the Unihandle can clean dirty windows and dry them beautifully and efficiently.
Even before the pandemic, customers surveyed about why they would not return to a store listed dirty restrooms as one of their top reasons.³ Having a dedicated cleaning team to check restrooms regularly is important for in-store hygiene as well as reputation. In addition to keeping the toilets, sinks, and floors clean, customers want to have clean, full, and operational paper and hand soap dispensers ready at all times.
If you run a clothing store or a department store that sells clothing, it’s very important to have employees regularly scan dressing rooms to ensure they are clean, fresh, and ready for the next customer. Remove discarded outfits and hangers, clean the mirrors regularly (window cleaning supplies can be used here), check that the locks work properly, and ensure that the lighting is flattering. The dressing room floor should be included, which can be cleaned daily using a silent vacuum cleaner.
In addition to these key areas, your employees should constantly look out for any disordered shelves, displays, and messes to tidy up. One classic retail mantra states: “If there’s time to lean, it’s time to clean.” Providing your staff with modular, easy-to-use cleaning trolleys like one of the Brix systems ensures that dusters, rubbish bags, microfiber cloths, and cleaning solutions are always easy to reach and transport to messy areas.
Welcome Shoppers with a Clean Retail Shopping Experience
Keeping your retail shop clean and tidy shows your customers and potential customers your commitment to them. It demonstrates that you care about their experience, and they are more likely to shop, purchase, and return to your store.
IPC Worldwide is constantly creating retail store cleaning tools and solutions that help you keep your shop fresh and clean easily and efficiently so that you and your staff have more time to delight customers. Contact us today to discuss your retail cleaning needs.
¹ServiceChannel. “The Brick and Mortar Retail Report.” ServiceChannel, 1 Sept. 2022, servicechannel.com/reports/the-brick-and-mortar-retail-report/.
²Slip and Fall Quick Facts | NFSI. nfsi.org/nfsi-research/quick-facts/.
³Wilson, Marianne. “Study: Bad Odors, Dirty Restrooms among Top Five Store Turn-Offs.” Chain Store Age, chainstoreage.com/news/study-bad-odors-dirty-restrooms-among-top-five-store-turn-offs/. Accessed 24 Jan. 2024.