In an effort to provide greater convenience to customers, many retailers now remain open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This customer convenience forces retail facility managers to clean in plain view of customers. In turn, they must worry about customer safety, cleaning durations, noise levels, and equipment size—all while maintaining the image of the retail facility and the shopping experience of customers.
To overcome these challenges, when it comes to floor care, retailers are trending toward cleaning programs, processes and products that support the old axiom that less is more by focusing on anytime cleaning that:
- reduces slips and falls;
- reduces “out-of-service” time;
- minimizes noise levels; and
- is as unobtrusive as possible.
Reducing slips and falls
In an effort to improve safety and reduce slips and falls, retail facility managers are finding ways to use less water and chemical while still maintaining a clean facility. In particular, they are relying on products that:
- use less water than conventional automated scrubbing products on hard floor surfaces, leaving less water to remove after cleaning and decreasing the chance of someone slipping and falling;
- use less water than conventional extractors on carpeted surfaces, leaving carpets drier after cleaning and decreasing the likelihood of wet shoes transitioning from wet carpeting to a hard floor surface;
- use a cleaning solution with less detergent that’s more easily recovered to eliminate the potential for water and soap being left behind after cleaning and to prevent chemical degradation of corrugated fixtures; and
- use cleaning systems and detergents that have been certified as being slip-resistant by the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI).
Reducing “out of service” time
Retail floor space equals sales space. Therefore, retail facility managers must ensure that floor surfaces are open and accessible to customers. But because just cleaned floors and carpets that are wet need time to dry, retail facility managers are turning to:
- automatic scrubbers that use less water and have a squeegee that removes virtually all water from the floor;
- carpet equipment with soil transfer technology that uses less water to clean carpets, thereby decreasing dry time; and
- carpet equipment that so effectively provides interim cleaning by removing dirt before it becomes embedded that it increases intervals between restorative extraction cleaning.
Minimizing noise levels
Noise pollution is always an issue when cleaning congested or populated areas. A low noise piece of maintenance equipment operates at a consistently low decibel level. Vacuums are often the primary culprit when it comes to higher noise levels, but retail facility managers are finding there are vacuums available that reduce noise and disturbance levels and allow for anytime cleaning.
Populated retail stores are just that—populated. And because many stores now offer one-stop-shopping, many retail locations have narrow aisles, overstocked shelves and displays, and little room to navigate a shopping cart none-the-less a piece of cleaning equipment.
Therefore, retail facility managers are discovering that size does matter, and smaller is better. They are leaning toward using equipment that is maneuverable, easy to store, and unobtrusive so as not to take up more space than is absolutely necessary in an already busy shopping area.