By Mark Beeston, Vioguard
Retailers across the country are preparing for a holiday season unlike any other. Usually, they’d be stocking up with the latest styles and newest electronic gadgets to attract as many shoppers as possible. This year, it will likely be the extent of safety precautions that retailers are taking to keep everyone safe that will attract customers to a specific store. Implementing technology like UV-C light into sanitation protocols can help set the bar high above the competitors, bringing customers back in the doors.
In a recent survey of 6,000 people from Social Media Link called “COVID-19 Brand Sentiment Nagivator Report,” it was found that the most imperative action retail outlets can take while reopening in any capacity is to keep both employees and customers as safe as possible.
Shopping in physical stores is all about developing both a relationship and experience and the importance of a safe experience is more relevant now than ever before. It’s routine practice for stores to have basic cleaning routines but now they will need to regularly disinfect. This means that staff need to receive the proper training and comply with the CDC guidelines to diligently follow the new procedures. But the need for traditional cleaning solutions stay on surfaces for a certain time to truly disinfect combined with the rising number of times per day in which things need to be cleaned requires a sales associated to practically become a full-time custodian. Introducing UV-C disinfecting products into sanitization protocols can both ensure effectiveness and optimize manual labor time.
We know now that COVID-19 can be spread through either direct contact with an infected person or by contaminated surfaces. Employees and customers wearing face masks and social distancing can minimize the direct contact spread, and UV-C sanitizing solutions can minimize the spread of the virus from surfaces.
The use of UV light to eliminate viruses and bacteria has been around for many years. Ultraviolet light within a particular wavelength can disable microorganisms by affecting both RNA and DNA. Moreover, UV-C light has been proven to be the most effective solution to obliterate antibiotic-resistant pathogens. Recently, even consumer UV products have increased in popularity. However, UV-C light is effective because the wavelength of 250-270nm is absorbed by the nucleic acids of microbial cells. This wavelength is by far the most lethal when it comes to destroying pathogens.
Using ultraviolet sanitization products in retail is the most effective solution when it comes to cleaning small items that are shared or touched frequently. While bacteria can evolve to resist chemicals, this cannot happen with UV-C light. Several chemical solutions need to stay on a surface for several minutes to disinfect, making them ineffective for quick cleanings. Products like sanitizing wipes and sprays can remove germs when used properly, but most are unaware that there is a two-step process when using them. First, the surface is cleaned to remove germs and then sprayed or wiped with an EPA approved sanitizer to kill bacteria. Cleaning a surface alone will unfortunately not kill the coronavirus, but ultraviolet light will.
In a retail space, small and portable devices like the Vioguard Cubby and Cubby+ eliminate 99.99 percent of harmful viruses and bacteria in under one minute and can sanitize multiple items at the same time.
This type of UV-C product is perfect for a store to disinfect items like keyboards, pens, binders, and ID badges. Our smartphones are magnets for germs, studies show that 92 percent of handheld phones are contaminated. So, running staff’s phones through the device can immensely reduce the chance of spread amongst employees and customers. For owners of shopping centers, simply placing a compact UV-C device in places like entrances, cash registers, information booths, and outside of restrooms can significantly reduce surface spread in the area.
In addition, UV-C technology can benefit certain types of retails in keeping merchandise germ-free, such as jewelry or eyewear shops, technology stores, and mall kiosks.
As states across the country continue to relax safety regulations, retailers that make the most effort to keep their customers and employees safe will thrive as we continue to adjust to the new reality.
About The Author
Mark Beeston joined Vioguard in June 2017 as Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Before Vioguard, Beeston lead a sales team for Option Care in the post-acute business sector. He spent six years in various sales leadership roles from Regional Sales Director to Director of Strategic Solutions at Hill-Rom Company. Before joining Hill-Rom, he served as a Regional Sales Director for the Hospital Products unit for Hospira Worldwide (formerly Abbott Labs). During his 13-year tenure at Hospira/Abbott he filled several diverse roles such as Senior Engineer in new product development, Sales Executive, Contract Marketing, and District Sales Manager. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Manufacturing Engineering from Brigham Young University. He enjoys snow skiing, water skiing, and multiple other outdoor activities with his wife and six children.