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Retailers have been warned that high touch point areas of stores such as trolleys, baskets and payment terminals are the most feared for the spread of Covid-19, according to independent research for Cennox, the global retail solutions provider.

The survey ‘Consumer Attitudes to In-Store Safety During the Covid-19 Pandemic‘ also found that 50% of shoppers hold the misconception that bleach and alcohol wipes immediately kill Coronavirus, as retailers deploy these solutions across the store.

The survey conducted by research firm Vitreous World, polled 2,000 consumers to understand in-store safety concerns since non-essential shops opened their doors in mid-June.

Nick Cockett, Cennox’s COO, says caution is needed when relying on measures which can prove to be ineffective, commenting: “In the case of alcohol and bleach solutions, these can take up to ten minutes to be effective, so if anyone else carrying Covid-19 has used your basket, trolley or payment terminal in that time, it will have done nothing to stop the spread of infection.”

According to the research, ‘Consumer Attitudes to In-Store Safety During the Covid-19 Pandemic’, baskets and trolleys are considered by shoppers to be the most high-risk area of the store for the spread of infection, followed by payment terminals, in the aisles and finally at the storefront.

As face masks are now compulsory in shops in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, retailers are encouraged to remain vigilant to stop all possible means for the spread of infections and rebuild consumer confidence.

With just 38% of customers trusting checkout staff to correctly disinfect payment terminals after every use, Cockett believes more comprehensive cleaning solutions are required.

He commented: “While mandatory face masks might have received a mix reaction, the results show us that customers are concerned about many parts of the shopping experience and retailers must do more to alleviate anxieties.”

To solve this, the majority of shoppers (53%) believe the responsibility of disinfecting payment terminals should be taken away from shop assistants and they expect to see technology solutions put in place.

“With shopper wellbeing now top of the agenda, we hope that this latest measure doesn’t ‘mask’ the issue and that retailers continue to take a more in-depth review of their stores and how to keep customers safe.”

There are concerns that more robust cleaning methods might impact on shopper experience. However, the study found the vast majority of shoppers polled (89%) are willing to accept a delay of 30 seconds at the checkout if it meant a thorough clean between each transaction.

Cockett added: “Far from punishing retailers that make even small changes to the in-store experience, our research shows that shoppers value safety over speed.

“Retail staff are among the biggest heroes of the pandemic and they must be given all the help they can to keep shoppers safe.”

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