This guide is written for people who need advice on choosing the correct matting solutions for their retail environment of all sizes, whether it’s a shop, store, convenience store, supermarket, or hypermarket.
Each industry has its own set of requirements based on its specific processes and operating environment. When selecting appropriate matting, it’s important to consider the unique needs of the retail industry. Retail shops are usually busy environments with a large volume of foot traffic, as well as frequent use of pushchairs, wheelchairs, and trollies. As a result, the matting options that are most appropriate for retail environments differ from those used in other industries.
Creating a positive impression on visitors is essential for stores. To encourage customers to return, shops must prioritise the appearance of their premises, while also ensuring that their staff are comfortable to reduce staff turnover and maintain productivity.
The retail industry is subject to various regulations that impact the selection of appropriate matting. These and other important considerations are covered in this Retail Mats Guide.
Table of Contents
What are the uses and benefits of Retail Mats?
- Prevent tracking of dirt and water into the store from outside
- Prevent slip and fall accidents in and around the store
- Improve the appearance of the store
- Portray messages, including for POS, marketing and safety
- Provide fatigue relief for staff which can prevent musculoskeletal disorders and sickness
- Improve staff productivity through additional comfort
- Satisfy legal regulations
By using our Retail Mats guide, you can choose the most appropriate matting for your shop, store, or retail unit, which will allow you to get the most out of your selection.
Mats for shop entrances
The entrance is a critical component of a store’s overall appearance, and it’s often the first thing a customer will notice before entering. The entrance’s inviting appearance can significantly impact a potential customer’s decision to enter the store or continue walking to a competitor. A store’s entrance plays a crucial role in shaping a customer’s first impression of the store.
“More than two-thirds of consumers say they have avoided a store based on its external appearance” (source: Retail Customer Experience, May 2011)
Retail mats are an important component in maintaining the appearance of a store’s entrance. A visually appealing entrance mat or mat system that effectively traps dirt and moisture can prevent your floors from looking dirty and uninviting.
Incorporating a logo mat with your store’s logo, accompanied by the words “Welcome to” can convey a sense of pride in your store’s identity and appearance. This type of branding communicates value to the customer and can differentiate your store from competitors. By creating a superior entrance experience, you can attract more customers to your store and increase foot traffic.
Slip & fall risks in a retail environment
The degree of risk associated with dirt, water, and spillage inside a store can vary depending on the store’s foot traffic and the types of products sold. Stores that sell liquids or high-traffic supermarkets and grocery stores are more susceptible to such risks than a furniture store, for example.
However, using retail mats can effectively mitigate these risks by preventing dirt and water from being tracked into the store, absorbing spills, and providing a safe walking surface for customers.
Common retail areas at risk include:
- Entrance areas
- Where liquid containers can fall from shelves:
- Drinks, chemicals, grease, oils
- Where unpackaged goods can fall to the floor:
- Fruit & Veg, Confectionary, Flowers
- Meat & Dairy Produce areas
- Vending machine areas
- Catering / food service areas
Each year, slips and falls result in significant financial losses for retailers. These accidents affect customers and staff, leading to prolonged periods of absence and decreased productivity. To minimise these risks, retail stores should take proactive measures to identify areas with a risk of slips and falls and install retail mats to prevent such incidents.
Slips and falls are frequently caused by the tracking of dirt and water from outside the store. Using effective entrance mats can help to:
- Remove dirt and water from foot traffic, preventing it from being tracked inside the store.
- Prevent slips and falls from occurring in and around the store.
- Retain dirt and water on the mat until it can be cleaned off at a later time.
- Provide a safe walking surface for customers and staff.
Poor weather conditions can significantly increase the amount of dirt and water that enters a store through its entrance. To prevent such occurrences, retailers should ensure that their entrance mats are of adequate quality and size to handle any weather condition.
Using effective entrance matting not only reduces the risk of slips and falls but also results in lower cleaning costs, which may ultimately offset the cost of the mats themselves.
Areas where retail staff stand for extended periods
Staff members who stand in one place for extended periods, such as cashiers and customer service representatives, are prone to fatigue due to limited movement.
Anti-fatigue mats can help alleviate this problem by promoting joint movement and enhancing blood circulation throughout the body. This results in fewer sick days, reduced tiredness, improved productivity, and a more content workforce.
To effectively reduce fatigue in such areas, small 2×3 or 3×5 foot anti-fatigue mats can be installed. For larger or irregularly shaped spaces, runners or anti-fatigue mat tiles may be more appropriate.
“86% of people found anti-fatigue matting helped reduce pain or serious health complaints of staff” (source: Coba Standing at Work Survey 2018)
See our article on Why You Need to Use Anti-Fatigue Mats
Retail Mats to cope with heavy trollies
Retail mats need to withstand the weight of shopping trolleys and the potentially damaging effects of the wheels. Additionally, the transition of the trolley over the mat needs to be safe and smooth. To prevent mats from moving around, it is important to choose ones that do not slip, particularly on tiled floors. Vinyl backed mats, for example, have a tendency to slip, and are more liable to split at the edges or crush down.
To accommodate shopping trolleys, it is recommended to choose retail mats with a sturdy base or ones that are fixed to the floor with glue or tape. Rubber-backed mats made of tough and durable materials are also necessary. For loose lay mats, it is important to choose mats with bevelled edges, which allow the wheels to safely travel onto, over, and off the other side of the mat. Recess mats are even more preferable as they sit flush to the surrounding floors.
Satisfy legal regulations
The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA), the Equality Act 2010 and Part M of the Building Regulations regulate how stores should be built, designed, and furnished with retail mats. These laws ensure that customers with disabilities, including those in wheelchairs, and customers with pushchairs, are not treated unfairly or find it difficult to access the store.
Retail mats must be designed to provide a smooth transition for wheelchair users and allow for easy means of escape in case of emergency. Mats with coconut/coir, deep piles, or large ridges or holes may not meet these regulations. Highly patterned mats can also make the surface less safe or confusing for certain individuals.
Retail Mats for P.O.S. and Marketing messages
The flooring inside stores can be used as a medium to convey messages to customers or draw their attention to specific areas. Logo mats, which can be customised with almost any design, are a useful tool for displaying point-of-sale promotions or marketing messages. Since the floor is often less cluttered than other surfaces, it can be a powerful and eye-catching way to engage customers when used effectively and safely. Ideas include:
- Advertising the latest in store promotion
- Highlighting new arrivals
- Convey a store’s USPs to add value
Mat Recommendation: Logo mats
Safety message mats
Logo mats can also be used to highlight important safety messages. For example:
- Fire exit indicators or awareness
- Hard hat areas
- Mind the step
- Risk of slips and falls
- Staff only areas
Mat Recommendation: Logo mats
Areas for warehousing and storage
Retail mats are not only useful in customer-facing areas, but also in warehouse and storage areas where staff may have to work on cold and hard floors for extended periods. As mentioned earlier, Anti-Fatigue mats can benefit these workers in the same way. Spillages and breakages are common in storage areas due to the frequent movement of goods in and out of storage. Retail mats can be used to absorb spillages, or cushioned mats can be used to prevent breakages.
Forklifts and pallet trucks are often used to transport goods from outside to inside the warehouse, which can result in a lot of dirt and water being tracked into the warehouse via the wheels and people’s feet. Forklifts are more likely to lose traction, and warehouse floors are at a higher risk of slips and falls. This issue can be addressed by using Forklift Mats and absorbent mats placed around the entrances to the warehouse.
Need more advice?
Trusted Mats understands that each industry has its own unique requirements, and the retail industry is no exception. With over 20 years of experience in supplying retail mats to businesses throughout the UK, we offer mats that are specifically designed to meet the demands of the retail environment.
If you need assistance in selecting the right retail mats for your specific needs, please contact our customer services team for expert advice and support.
This guide is part of our Complete Guides to Mats series, which includes the following:
- Entrance Mats Complete Guide
- Rubber Mats Complete Guide
- Anti-Fatigue Mats Complete Guide
- Coir Matting Ultimate Guide
- Chair Mats Best UK Chair Mats Guide
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