99% of retail customers influenced by poor cleanliness

04 December 2013

Cleanliness is a key driver of customer retention and an effective means of adding value in the retail sector, according to a new white paper from support services provider Emprise.

The paper reports that retailers can use cleaning services strategically to enhance the customer experience and increase brand loyalty, whilst driving operational cost savings and efficiencies. It adds that as in-store spending still dominates, with 83p in every £1 being spent offline, retailers can use cleaning as an effective means of competitive advantage, particularly if they focus on making the shopping experience offered in their stores superior to their competitors.  

The paper refers to research that shows that the appearance of a store has a major impact on whether a consumer chooses to shop there, highlighting the importance of the overall customer experience going beyond good customer service. It also cites figures from one study, carried out by market research firm Harris Interactive, which found that 99 per cent of consumers said poor cleanliness would negatively affect their perception of a retail store with unclean restrooms and unpleasant odours rated higher than poor customer service.

The paper also provides a case study from one national retailer, which achieved significant cost savings across its national estate through outsourcing its cleaning services. As a customer-facing brand with over 250 stores, the retailer recognised the importance of cleanliness and how this could impact on the whole customer experience. Emprise states that a highly efficient output specification cleaning model was implemented for this retailer, enabling smarter working and at the same time, driving cost savings. This meant that time could be spent where it was required, not just routinely working through a list of jobs.


Emprise concludes that with so much importance being place on cleanliness by consumers and the effect it can have on a brand’s reputation, working in partnership with an outsourced supplier, who can also bring additional expertise, can deliver a number of advantages. For example, specialist cleaning suppliers know how to reduce costs and maintain a great service, whilst guaranteeing that the responsibility for cleaning lies with the provider; and an outsourced supplier can bring improved methods and cleaning techniques, which can save resources and reduce energy consumption.