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Bad Salzuflen (bre). Since spring 2020, we all have to deal with a new normality. Masks, disinfection, distance and many other new realities have changed our everyday life and the way we think and act.

This has become parti­cu­larly visi­ble in retail. Spacers in the form of stickers, flut­ter tapes or prescri­bed walk­ways are suppo­sed to provide more safety. Main­tai­ning the distance in the highly frequen­ted check­out area is a parti­cu­lar chall­enge. In most cases, there is only a lack of hygiene protec­tion for staff and custo­mers at the check­out coun­ters. In this zone of the store, howe­ver, proxi­mity to the custo­mer is also unavo­ida­ble, as the products have to be placed on the check­out belt by the custo­mer and the employee has to pull the products over the scan­ner.

Employees and custo­mers have almost the same demands and wishes when it comes to safety. They want to be in a protec­ted envi­ron­ment both when working at their work­place and when shop­ping.

What do customers think?

Accor­ding to the POS Marke­ting Report 2021 from the “Rund­schau”, for 55% of custo­mers the imple­men­ta­tion of Corona hygiene rules is an important criter­ion when choo­sing a shop­ping loca­tion. And this survey result is no surprise. The partly makes­hift “protec­tive guards” with wooden slats and tacked-on plas­tic sheets not only look unin­vi­ting, but also do not inspire confi­dence. Apart from their useful­ness. A custo­mer is more likely to prefer a market where he has the feeling that the protec­tive measu­res appar­ently offer him more secu­rity.

What applies to employees in the retail trade?

Accor­ding to the Covid regu­la­ti­ons, employees in the check­out area are exempt from the obli­ga­tion to wear masks. Howe­ver, without the use of sneeze guards, they are expo­sed to the same high risk of infec­tion as their colle­agues. The employer must ensure the protec­tion of his employees. Accor­ding to the 23rd Covid Order of 15th Decem­ber 2020, this results in an obli­ga­tion for all persons in work­places and estab­lish­ments (…) to wear a mask cove­ring their mouth and nose. For the retail sector, this means:

”(…) The employees at the cash regis­ters them­sel­ves are at their (concrete) work­place and are ther­e­fore not affec­ted by the mask obli­ga­tion (no traf­fic area). In this area, howe­ver, it is part of the employer’s duty of care to ensure that employees are protec­ted (for exam­ple, by means of sepa­ra­ting screens or other suita­ble measu­res). This is accor­din­gly trans­fera­ble to other work­places and busi­ness premi­ses.”

So what to do?

“The variety of check­out coun­ters and their respec­tive shapes and designs is large. So the chall­enge is to deve­lop a protec­tion concept that can be applied to every check­out coun­ter in retail,” explains Oliver Voßhen­rich, mana­ging part­ner of POS TUNING. Accor­ding to recent studies, 58% of shop­pers expect hygiene stan­dards to be main­tai­ned in check­out areas as well. Oliver Voßhen­rich descri­bes the inno­va­tive idea of the Bad Salzufl-based company as follows: “We have deve­lo­ped a kind of flexi­ble modu­lar system that allows us to adapt and install hygie­nic sneeze guards to any type of check­out coun­ter in just a few simple steps.”  This system is made of recy­clable PETG and features, among other things, high trans­pa­rency and break resis­tance. All parts can be moun­ted directly on the check­out coun­ter and are adap­ta­ble on site. “We thus offer our custo­mers 360° all-round protec­tion, because the basic package with front and pack protec­tion can be exten­ded at any time with the back and door protec­tion,” explains Oliver Voßhen­rich.

What does the future hold?

Although it is hard to imagine at the moment, there will be a time after the pande­mic. What will it look like? How will our thin­king and actions change? Oliver Voßhen­rich explains: “Our shop­ping beha­viour is alre­ady no longer the same as before the pande­mic. The demands in the retail sector in terms of hygiene stan­dards have increased. Shop­pers want to feel safe when shop­ping and, above all, unders­tood by the retailer. He must know what moves his custo­mers. This also includes the fears that shop­pers have. Of course, shop­ping should still be fun and not become an excur­sion into the unknown. The “feel-good zone” has been expan­ded to include the “safety zone”. This is where new thin­king has to start.”  In a survey for the EHI white­pa­per “Handel mit Abstand”, 57% of shop­pers were in favour of keeping the use of hygie­nic guards at check­outs even after the pande­mic. Hygie­nic sneeze guards for check­out coun­ters are a piece of the puzzle in the new daily routine — they can give employees and shop­pers alike a sense of secu­rity. But that’s not all: accor­ding to BGHW, the hygie­nic sneeze guards from POS TUNING also meet the requi­re­ments for the retail trade. An invest­ment in the future and in a new, diffe­rent ever­y­day shop­ping life.

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Maren Brett­meier

+49 5222/36965–646

+49 1721338139