Counting instead of pushing

BERNSTEIN develops hygiene station with customer counting option

"Would you please take a shopping trolley?" These or similar phrases were often heard by customers in recent months as they walked through the entrance of a retail outlet, thoughtfully leaving the trolleys and baskets to the left. Often a person also started a discussion about the necessity - after all, they only wanted to quickly get a single item in the supermarket. Such situations are idle - for shopkeepers, employees and customers. The only reason for the "compulsory shopping trolley" during the Corona pandemic is to guarantee a maximum number of customers in the shop or shop and thus to make it possible to maintain distances - counted shopping trolleys at the entrance: the means of choice?

"The idea came up while we were shopping. After all, there had to be a more practical way to keep track of the number of customers than an overarching shopping trolley duty," says Nicole Bernstein, describing the impetus for the project. BERNSTEIN AG, known for the development and production of switches, sensors and enclosures, certainly has the know-how to implement the project.
This was followed by further considerations and home offices whose door frames were to simulate the entrance area in retail. BERNSTEIN designed a prototype and presented it to Karl Preuß GmbH in autumn 2020. In a constructive exchange, further requirements were identified that were essential for use in the WEZ stores: "We attached importance to the column blending into the design of our shops. In addition, we found a design with a monitor to be useful, for example, in order to be able to provide our customers with important information directly in the entrance area, for example to wear a mask," says Rüdiger Heß, Managing Director of Karl Preuß GmbH, based in Minden.

What followed was testing under "live conditions": BERNSTEIN AG first set up the prototype of the disinfection column in the WEZ store in Porta Westfalica/Hausberge. "The column proved itself in a test run of a few weeks. Small things that could not be simulated in our internal tests were still changed," Nicole Bernstein summarises. Finally, Karl Preuß GmbH ordered a total of 24 hygiene columns with customer counting for its 22 branches and two separate beverage stores. "Already during the Christmas rush before the holidays, the solution proved itself in our stores and ensured problem-free compliance with the specifications from the Corona Protection Ordinance," reports Rüdiger Heß. Furthermore, he praised the easy installation: "The commissioning of the column is simple and can be done by the store staff themselves. This means that the hygiene measures can be fulfilled in no time at all."

In fact, this design of the hygiene column supports retailers in implementing two requirements from the Corona Protection Ordinance at the same time: On the one hand, it enables mobile hand disinfection where hand washing is not possible. Secondly, it ensures that the maximum number of customers per square metre is not exceeded. "The column is available in different variations. Currently, we are also developing a customer counting solution for markets or shopping centres that have several entrances and exits," Nicole Bernstein concludes.

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