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How One Tech Firm Preps Stores and Malls for Effective Social Distancing

Right now, retail tech providers are rolling out solutions to solve for customers concerns over shopping in brick-and-mortar stores.

Stores seeking to reopen their businesses are going to have to put in major efforts to continue mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and ultimately giving consumers the confidence that they will have a safe shopping experience. One software provider, Internet of Things (IoT) device management company AVSystem, is leveraging its user journey optimization technology to ease these shoppers’ fears and get stores running with efficient social distancing guidelines.

AVSystem has released Linkyfi Social Distancing & Occupancy Management, a tool designed to helps stores, malls and other businesses manage the number of customers in the venue and maintain physical distancing requirements.

Linkyfi’s solution comes with a set of features that make it easier to manage occupancy in any public venue. Business users can set customized alerts for occupancy management, monitor the number of in-store visitors and notify relevant colleagues via email or SMS if limits are exceeded.

Multitenant businesses can demarcate different areas within a larger venue, set separate thresholds and alerts for each zone, and measure either the number or the density of customers.

Machine learning-based analytics allow owners to predict the busiest times for business in order to better allocate employees and resources and prepare for the influx of visitors. Information about traffic is not just shared with employees, but also with customers as well. Employees can contact customers who used the store’s WiFi to inform them about the best times to visit, regulations to follow and measures the business has taken to protect them.

Based on anonymous historical data, AVSystem says it can track a typical customer journey and eliminate likely points of congestion to facilitate physical distancing and keep customers and colleagues safe.

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The Linkyfi suite is offered in a SaaS model and uses a company’s existing WiFi infrastructure to collect data, which AVSystem says makes the solution fast, accessible, and cost-effective.

The system can help retailers and shopping malls “meet policies and customer expectations regarding safety in the post-coronavirus era,” said AVSystem CEO Slawomir Wolf.

With state guidelines all enforcing reduced capacity levels in businesses as they reopen, more tech providers are debuting solutions aimed at fostering more “social distance-friendly” store environments upon reopening.

In May, WiFi location marketing, advertising, and analytics platform Aislelabs announced a “social distancing smart counter” that can keep track of the real-time occupancy of a given space and then communicate that information to store employees. Security personnel can update a unified occupancy database through a web interface on their phones, adding or subtracting visitors from the overall count.

In addition, FareHarbor is taking the software it initially designed to work with travel reservation and booking companies and leveraging it in retail stores. With the retail version of its cloud-based software, the platform aims to help shoppers book appointments ahead of time as a means to support retail’s efforts to maintain limits of how many customers are in store at any given time.

And Robling, a cloud-based retail data warehouse provider, recently launched a Store Reopening Analytics application designed to map local COVID-19 curves against the store locations using a zoomable nationwide map, heatmaps, charts and tables. This app gives retailers a heads up on where they should be reopening stores next, and how quick the reopening process should be.