It’s that time of year again: When consumers gas up and hit the road for summer travel. But this summer, things will be different.
For one thing, consumers are more eager than ever to travel after months and months of lockdowns and other restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, they will embark on their road trips with a heightened focus on health and cleanliness.
A recent survey by the Travel Technology Association found that 65% of respondents said they plan on traveling more this year than they did pre-COVID, and 59% of families said they’re more likely to drive instead of fly for their next trip. The survey also found that 80% of American travelers will take more precautions due to COVID.
This scenario presents a prime opportunity for convenience stores that offer clean, inviting shopping environments to capture repeat sales from customers. Having the right products at the right prices will always be keys to driving customer loyalty, but in the modern, competitive convenience store landscape, cleanliness matters more than ever. Nearly half of consumers (48%) in a survey published last year by NACS said they have a store brand where they prefer to shop, and 37% of those that have a preference said that cleanliness plays an important role in determining their retailer of choice.
Consumers continue to remain cautious about their health and safety while traveling, and they will look for indications that the retail stores they visit are maintaining high standards of sanitation. That includes high-touch surfaces such as door handles and countertops, as well as highly visible areas such as the floor areas in entryways, aisles, checkout areas and restrooms, where first impressions can have a strong, lasting impact on customers.
Floors in particular remain a challenge for convenience store operators to maintain, especially during high-traffic seasons. The old-fashioned mop-and-bucket approach is not only inefficient and often unsightly, but it also can leave floors wet and slippery, with portions of the store closed off to customers while the floor dries, resulting in potential lost sales.
With labor pressures continually rising, store operators are looking for innovative ways to achieve the higher cleaning standards that drive customer satisfaction and loyalty — without shrinking their bottom line. Spaces like the aisles of a convenience store and high-traffic areas of bathrooms and breakrooms — present a particular challenge, as small-space cleaning still depends heavily on manual processes like mop-and-bucket floor cleaning. Forward-thinking retailers are increasingly targeting the small-space cleaning challenge by leveraging mechanized cleaning technologies to help them drive more reliable cleaning performance, while realizing significant operational and labor efficiencies.
Critically, it’s not just market pressures pushing the rapid adoption of mechanized floor cleaning. Significant advances in the technologies are also making micro-scrubbers and other small, mobile automatic scrubbers more affordable and faster to implement — and easier and more cost-effective to use. As more businesses leverage a new wave of practical, modernized floor cleaning technologies, they’re not just reducing cleaning time and labor costs — they’re also gaining more: more powerful cleaning capabilities, more reliable cleaning performance, and more satisfied customers and employees.
Convenience retailers can solve these challenges with 21st century solutions from Tennant, such as the innovative CS5 Micro-Scrubber. The CS5 features a narrow scrub path and adjustable handle that make it easy to use in small, tight spaces. The CS5 can clean in both forward and reverse motion while ensuring nearly 100% water recovery, while enabling more effective cleaning thanks to separate solution and water-recovery tanks—no more pushing dirty water around with a mop. Plus, floors dry quickly, creating a safe envinrment without disrupting shoppers. The cleanliness results are impressive, but the impact on labor cost is even more remarkable: When switching from a manual mop and bucket to a CS5, retailers can save approximately 300 hours of labor and nearly $4,500 in labor costs every year, based on ISSA cleaning times.
At a time when retailers are struggling to find and retain workers, machines such as the user-friendly CS5 also provide tools that employees will appreciate as well. With employees spending significantly less time juggling the mop and bucket, the ultimate outcome is not a reduction in staff, but rather redeploying staff to spend more time on other responsibilities. That may mean focusing on more intensive cleaning tasks like surface wipe-downs and disinfection—or it may mean freeing-up employees to spend more time delivering great service to customers.
By leveraging mechanized floor cleaning technologies, convenience retailers of all sizes and types can rapidly create an experience that stands out from the crowd, turning clean into a powerful competitive differentiator, earning invaluable trust and loyalty, and driving measurable value on the top line. Just as critically, deploying these simple tools can rapidly power operational efficiency, productivity and staff satisfaction that drives the bottom line of success.
Advanced technologies are easier to deploy and use than ever, making implementation of these tools a much lighter lift — and a practical, quick-win strategy. Tennant works side-by-side with its retail partners to help them design an optimal cleaning program for their specific cleaning needs, helping ensure a fast, smooth and successful deployment of modernized mechanical floor cleaning. With a range of high-performance floor-cleaning machines, Tennant provides reliable and efficient solutions that help operators win customer loyalty and drive ongoing sales.
For more information about how Tennant can help impress customers with clean stores this summer and beyond, click here.
This post is sponsored by Tennant Company