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How can retailers maintain a clean and tidy store during busy times of the day?

26 August 2014

The ultimate goal for any retail business is to increase footfall and drive sales, which means improving the overall customer experience. An essential part of this is keeping the store clean and tidy at all times, explains Sarah Windham-Luck, director of retail at Office Depot UK

Cleaning is an important aspect of ensuring a customer’s visit is a pleasant one. A well-kept and tidy store increases the chance of a return visit or customer recommendation.


The main issue for retailers is weighing up the level of cleaning that is required during trading hours against cleaning that takes place when the shutters come down. Deciding which is right for your business is an important factor worth careful consideration.


Daytime cleaning vs. night-time cleaning

For retail businesses, meeting customer expectations is vital. Maintaining a clean and tidy store is part of the reputational challenge that retailers face, as they strive to please shoppers.


To keep up with demand, most stores adopt a ‘clean as you go’ approach where staff are expected to clean shop surfaces and floors as part of their day-to-day job. Where there is often high footfall during store opening times, staff will find a suitable time, normally when the shop is less busy, to sweep the floor or wipe a dusty surface. Store managers can oversee this process by introducing protocols such as hourly checks of customer toilets to ensure customers are satisfied with store cleanliness. Displaying a log sheet showing toilets are checked hourly is just one simple method to provide shoppers with confidence about a store’s hygiene standards.  


The advantages of retailers employing a ‘clean as you go’ approach is that stores will appear tidier during the busier hours as staff are trained to react to any spillages or dirt that is beginning to gather. On the other hand, cleaning out of hours or ‘night-time cleaning’ allows for more thoroughness as customers are no longer a barrier to carrying out tasks such as mopping the floor.



Frequently reviewing cleaning procedures helps retail businesses to find a balance between staff cleaning while the store is open and cleaners coming in after hours. 

Retailers must ensure in-house staff have a good understanding of cleaning procedures and products, while third-party cleaners should be monitored closely to guarantee compliance.  


Installing dilution control systems brings simplicity to dilution control, providing cleaning operatives with the ability to dilute concentrated cleaning solutions for use in trigger sprays or a mop bucket without the need for complex calculations. This not only helps to save product by limiting overuse, but it is operationally faster and helps maximise the standard of cleaning and creates a cleaner and tidier store.


Choosing the right products

Retail stores are commonly diverse spaces and each different area of a store has distinct cleaning requirements. As there is often high footfall during store opening hours, choosing the most efficient materials and products for the job is essential.


Consolidation through the use of multi-purpose cleaning products is the most cost-effective and efficient choice for retailers. Many retail stores are placed in prime locations on the high street and back-of-house storage spaces are often only small, therefore consolidating cleaning products means that less space is required to stock them. This also helps shop workers feel less overwhelmed about cleaning duties, as multi-purpose products are versatile enough to apply to different surfaces.


Training & employee engagement

When introducing new staff members to the shop floor, an important part of the training programme is to make sure they know which products to use and where. After hours, it is then left to external cleaners to thoroughly clean shop floors and surfaces before trading begins the next day.   


Deciding on the level of cleaning required out of trading hours begins with self-auditing, where area managers carry out performance checks by entering a store in the shoes of a customer. The outcome may be that the out of hours cleaning needs to be increased or refresher training sessions for store workers is the solution.


The solution for most retailers is to maintain a balance of both daytime and night-time cleaning so that after the working day, the store is cleaned from top to bottom and during the day cleaning isn’t neglected.