The current pandemic has had a massive impact on retail both globally and locally, and we are seeing a number of trends in this sector come to fruition at a fairly rapid pace. Shopping malls are needing to adapt and evolve, online has seen a surge together with the increase of app development, and in-store technology is being updated to provide shoppers with a more convenient and contactless experience. But, as South Africa faces its third wave in the fight against Coronavirus, health protocols remain one of the most important deciding factors in whether consumers will continue to shop at physical stores and which of those stores they are choosing to shop at.
Partnering for an improved shopper experience
Industry experts are continually raising the need for a multi-pronged approach in keeping shoppers and the retail workforce safe, and a recent collaboration between We Are Egg in Cape Town and FAR UVC AFRICA has just provided the ideal case study to further prove this point.
We Are Egg, based in Cavendish Square, is a 3,000sqm experiential omni-channel retail offering and having opened its doors towards the end of 2020, with an existing lockdown still in place, ensuring a safe place to shop and work was of significant importance for the team. Conrad Kullmann, Managing Director at FAR UVC AFRICA reached out to Paul Simon, CEO at We Are Egg, to provide a solution that would not only address this need but would also align with We Are Egg’s vision to “re-imagine the future of retail”.
For a period of three weeks, FAR UVC AFRICA provided a number of far-UVC units consisting of 150W pendant fittings – used in high traffic areas such as till points, the coffee/food arena and presentation area in the store, 20W ceiling mount units – used in low traffic areas such as dressing rooms, the hairdresser and make-up areas, one gateway unit for the store’s main entrance, and a far-UVC hand sanitising unit also located at the main entrance.
What did the shoppers say?
During the retail trial period, in-store surveys were also conducted with customers. 84% of customers responded that the far-UVC technology encouraged them to visit the store as opposed to a competitor store. 77% of the shoppers surveyed also said that they felt safer and that it gave them peace of mind knowing that the far-UVC technology was implemented, while most also indicated that they were impressed that We Are Egg had made the investment to keep their shoppers safer.
One of the last questions posed was really focused on whether the far-UVC sanitising light technology would encourage people to go out to visit public areas such as restaurants and shop more in-store, and 66% of the respondents said “yes” with a further 29% finding that they would contemplate it more. Some of the shoppers even went on to say that the far-UVC units were “innovative”, “game-changing” and “really important” for them.
Kullmann says: “Our partnership with We Are Egg was a great starting point for us to showcase how the human-safe far-UVC light technology, when used together with other standard safety sanitisation measures, provides customers and staff with the multi-pronged approach that will really work effectively to keep them safe from COVID-19 and other airborne diseases. With the pandemic still a very present threat and our vaccine roll-out programme in the country lagging, we can no longer just rely on liquid sanitisers and social distancing to make the public feel safe and assured. It will take a proactive and collaborative approach from retailers to ensure their customers keep coming back and we want to be a part of that collaboration, keeping both businesses and the public safe.”