As businesses continue to make dramatic changes to the way they operate, OKI Europe’s head of vertical solutions Javier Lopez highlights the role of in-store signage in reducing confusion and distress for shoppers, while complying with social distancing regulations.

In increasingly unpredictable times, retailers need to be ready to react quickly to sudden market changes and emerging trends.

The spikes in footfall that supermarkets, grocers and pharmacists are currently experiencing is something many retailers could not have prepared for.

As customers flock to essential retailers, these businesses will be concerned about the safety of customers and staff, as well as reassuring shoppers through clear communications to keep a sense of calm in these challenging times.

Where in-store signage comes in

OKI Europe’s whitepaper on The Benefits of In-store Signage in a Crisis highlights how in-store visual communications are critical to helping retailers adhere to changing government regulations.

For example, social distancing is now part of our shopping experience. Floor stickers have become an essential tool to help shoppers observe the required two-metre distance from staff and other customers throughout the store, particularly while queuing to enter the store or pay for goods.

With UK government advice changing daily, combined with the fluctuation in the availability of goods, the ability to quickly adapt signage is key to maintaining a calm and safe shopping environment.

However, many retailers often lack the flexibility to be able to quickly update in-store signage.

Visual communication on-demand to reassure customers

Typically, retailers must wait for signage to be dispatched from head office or rely on the service of an external print supplier. This can mean long lead times creating a delay in how quickly each store can place vital and relevant communications on the shop floor.

Printers that have been designed specifically for the retail market allow retailers to quickly adapt to situations as they unfold by printing a range of visual communications in-store, on-demand.

Compact printers such as OKI’s C800 Series have been optimised for busy stores where space is often at a premium. These fit into back offices and are user-friendly enough for shopfloor staff to quickly manage print jobs with limited interruption to their other duties and without intervention from other members of staff.

Despite their small footprint, retail-ready printers can produce print signage in a wide range of sizes, formats and weights, serving a diverse range of in-store needs.

This can include hanging directional signage to guide shoppers around the store or window stickers highlighting the daily opening hours, as well as freestanding banners up to 1.3m in length, shelf signage and wobblers alerting shoppers of stock availability and policy updates such as purchasing limits.

Printers that support printing on waterproof media, including floor stickers, allow retailers to help customers adhere to social distancing rules, by placing stickers with the appropriate gap between them, safeguarding the wellbeing of customers and staff.

Positivity in print

In turbulent times, when unexpected events occur, retailers are often the unsung heroes that are put under pressure by customers and the government to provide support to the nation. 

With customers quickly becoming overwhelmed, disoriented and frustrated, providing retailers with the ability to communicate clearly to them through signage printed on demand and in professional quality, allows retailers to ensure their store remains a safe and peaceful environment for shoppers.

Javier Lopez

Javier Lopez is OKI Europe Ltd’s head of industry vertical solutions.

Download OKI Europe’s whitepaper on The Benefits of In-store Signage in a Crisis here.