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Published June 24th 2020

Covid-19: How Can Retailers Maintain Trust and Safety As Customers Return?

Survey data reveals the considerations consumers are taking before visiting stores

Many stores and businesses are bringing in safety measures due to Covid-19. Not only are they essential for the health and safety of staff and customers, they’re also important for convincing customers to enter the premises in the first place.

We wanted to find out which safety measures consumers were most concerned about. Using Brandwatch Qriously, we surveyed 4,092 adults from Australia, China, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK, and the United States through their smartphones and tablets.

What safety measures are consumers considering before visiting a store?

The most prominent measure in consumer considerations is whether a store requires people to wear masks. Luckily it’s an easy policy to enact, but it brings the risk of confrontation with shoppers who refuse to wear one. Store owners will need to consider how they’ll deal with this, such as by hiring security guards. Some of these confrontations have gone viral online, meaning staff will also need training in how to deal with such situations themselves.

The next two measures in the ranking could cause problems for stores with limited physical space. There’s not much you can do to enforce social distancing if you don’t have the space, and capacity issues go hand in hand with this.

This means there are two big problems facing businesses. Some will have fewer customers coming to their stores due to safety fears. Meanwhile, others (who may inspire enough confidence to bring customers to their doors) will be limited in the number they can serve due to capacity issues. In some cases where capacity issues are particularly severe, it may not even be profitable to open up at all.

The level of concern for these issues are very high, too. Nearly 50% are concerned about whether stores will enforce mask wearing, while 34% and 32% are thinking about distancing and capacity respectively. These are huge chunks of customers who could be put off if stores can’t reassure them effectively.

Perceptions of safety

That’s the next question. How much reassurance will people need? Will they really not enter a store because they can’t socially distance or pay contactlessly?

For 34% of people, safety measures will be very important, although stores can apparently rely on 17% of their customers not caring about any measures at all.

With 75% of people picking options three to five, it’s clear that worries about safety measures aren’t just idle concerns. Their proper implementation could be the make or break for many businesses in the coming months.

This analysis originally appeared in our free, daily Covid-19 data bulletin. Sign up here to get the latest data first.

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