Research: Covid secure graphics critical to retail bounce back

Darryl Danielli
Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Industry research has highlighted that poor or non-existent in-store social distancing signage could almost halve an individual store's potential footfall.

Consumers prefer stores that have clear Covid graphics
Consumers prefer stores that have clear Covid graphics

While the vast majority of bricks-and-mortar stores are now open, following the easing of retail lockdown conditions in late June, the sector continues to struggle to bounce back from the impact of coronavirus.

According to an independent pan-European study commissioned by wide-format printer manufacturer Roland DG, consumer confidence will play a large part in an individual store’s performance, with its study highlighting that 80% of UK consumers are more likely to visit stores that have clear social distancing graphics.

“Retailers need to increase consumer footfall, and effective signage plays a vital role in giving shoppers the confidence to visit stores,” said Jerry Davies, managing director of Roland DG UK.

“But the data shows that most businesses are clearly not giving it enough attention. Stores that fail to prioritise Covid-19 signage will continue to see shoppers stay away.”

According to an online study by research company Censuswide, 40% of UK respondents also said that they had stopped visiting stores that had unclear signage.

Roland DG said the research, which polled just over 2,500 European consumers, including 500 from the UK, highlighted the reputational damage retailers risk with weak Covid signage, with 40% of UK shoppers saying that it indicated “businesses are not taking their safety seriously enough”.

It also reported that younger shoppers, those aged between 16 to 34, were most likely to be influenced by in-store signage, with 54% reporting that they had stopped using stores with poor social distancing signage and 78% saying they were more likely to visit a shop with clear signage.

This compared to 38% of 35 to 54 year-olds and 36% of people aged 55 or over who said they they had stopped using stores with poor signage.

The study found that the stores with the most unclear signage are clothes shops (according to 21% of respondents), supermarkets and grocery stores (19%) and restaurants and bars (16%).

“There’s a big opportunity for brands to use signage to differentiate themselves and rebuild shopper confidence - and print businesses have a critical role to play in educating retail customers of the power of effective, directional signage,” said Davies.

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