Keeping the economy moving has become a balancing act; between keeping stores open so they can do business and keeping employees and customers as safe as possible.
From contactless payments to digital queuing, technology can help these businesses create a safer environment.
Controlling access to car parks is the first hurdle for retailers.
Many are already using parking management software but by combining this technology with IoT and cloud, they can start to get a clearer, real-time picture of when people are arriving and identify any peak times when extra safety measures might need to be put in place.
For example, by predetermining or presetting a safe “maximum in-store capacity”, retail centre managers can limit the number of parking spaces available.
Once the maximum limit is reached, a visual display can alert customers that car parks are full and not to enter.
This helps keep traffic in stores to a minimum, which makes social distancing much easier for stores to manage.
Smart parking technology is a useful tool for managing capacity and tracking visitor numbers through the year.
By identifying capacity trends, retailers can proactively plan their own staff rotas around busier periods, or prepare procedures to manage higher periods of capacity during certain times of the year.
Smart Parking is a world-leading parking solutions provider, with customers in Europe, Asia and Australia.
The company uses wireless sensors built into parking spaces to monitor capacity levels and provide information that can help shopping centre managers understand capacity trends at different times of the year.
Keeping customers safe in the store
The ability to control, monitor and restrict movements of people around a retail store or shopping centre is a critical part of keeping them safe.
We’re already seeing major supermarkets deploy different levels of access control for those entering their stores.
Some are even using integrated access control systems, linked to a traffic light system at the entrance, to monitor customer numbers and automatically restrict entry when the store reaches its limit.
While many are simply getting a member of staff to count the number of people that go in and out.
Using the same technology, but linking it to a central system you can use it to get an accurate number of customers in the store.
This can be used when planning for staff levels and other business functions.
Heat detection cameras
As well as limiting the number of people in your store, you might also want to have an early alert system to identify any customers or staff who are showing signs of illness, like high temperatures.
Heat detection cameras can be set up at the entrance of your store. Linked wirelessly via the cloud to a central control panel, you can monitor the skin surface temperature of people entering in real-time and identify those showing symptoms.
Syncing your camera to an alert system you can discreetly alert members of staff, who can take the necessary action.
These cameras keep data anonymous, for privacy, and are able to take skin temperature readings of dozens of people a minute.
This means you’ll avoid queues and know that your employees’ and customers’ health is being protected.
Getting back to normal safely
Retailers across the world are dealing with huge uncertainties as lockdown restrictions continue to change in response to the pandemic. Improving store safety is crucial in reassuring customers and encouraging them back into stores — and that requires both technology and an appropriate strategy.