In all sectors of commerce, environmental comfort is one of the main points for offering a good customer experience. In supermarkets, the relevance is even greater. Therefore, thermal and acoustic insulation becomes essential to attract and retain customers.
After all, unlike other business models, in which the customer buys a product quickly, supermarkets may require that the person spend a good deal of time inside the premises. In addition, culturally, families and individuals view weekly and monthly purchases as an outing – an activity to be enjoyed by several people in the household.
So, if there are certain types of dissatisfaction, it is almost certain that the person will not return. This is precisely the case with discomfort caused by heat or excessive noise. Fortunately, with a correct thermal insulation system, these two problems can be solved simultaneously. Want to understand better? Follow!
What is the importance of thermal and acoustic insulation?
To understand the relevance of thermal and acoustic insulation in supermarkets, we need to assess the most common building structures in which they are installed. After all, unlike residential or commercial projects with smaller physical facilities, most supermarkets are installed in buildings similar to warehouses.
After all, they demand higher ceilings, a large surface, natural or artificial exhaust systems, among other characteristics. For these projects to be cheaper, several choices are made, such as:
- choice of metal tiles and prefabricated roofs;
- absence of slab;
- more resistant concrete or ceramic flooring with a focus on cost-effectiveness;
- intense lighting and close to customers;
- simple masonry walls, among other points.
All of this will directly impact the thermoacoustic efficiency of the construction, as all of these points end up facilitating the transmission of energy into space. In this sense, investment in thermal and acoustic insulation is an excellent option to compensate for these vulnerabilities, which can compromise business operations and strategies.
Nowadays, the customer experience is the main concern of the retail sectors. After all, it influences several market competitiveness criteria for supermarkets:
- with the expansion of online sales, it is necessary to offer an incredible experience for the customer inside the establishments, as this will be the big factor that will drive him out of the comfort of his home to go to a supermarket instead of shopping through an app ;
- the customer experience is a cumulative process. This means that he does not evaluate it by individual criteria, but by the whole set of sensations and emotions he felt in his relationship with the business. In this sense, if the thermal comfort is bad, he can evaluate the whole experience as negative, even if the other points were impeccable;
- in addition to customer service and sensory merchandising for tasting and experimenting with products, the internal environment is the main factor that determines final satisfaction. Several surveys, such as the one published in one of the major retail magazines, show this. That is, more than an assumption, it is an objective fact
Also, note that sensory memory is much stronger than rational memory. So, a customer is much more likely to remember the discomfort he felt inside the facility than the price. So, the more you invest, the better your position on the list of choices he makes when deciding which store to attend.
Purchase and billing decision
Once inside the supermarket, your customers will evaluate the products, choose which ones will be placed in the cart, and pay. During this process, it may include items that you did not plan to purchase initially or give up those that you have already placed in the cart. This is the typical journey of your consumer inside the store.
Do not forget that the thermo acoustic discomfort triggers a series of bodily processes that impact this purchase decision. The higher it is, the greater the chances that this factor will reduce the average ticket – which measures the average value that customers spend on your business.
Because? Excessive sounds, heat, and cold are interpreted by the brain as a threat to its own survival. Thus, several physiological phenomena are triggered by a mechanism known as “Fight and Escape Reaction”. Several hormones are released so that:
- the person feels an urge to get rid of that negative stimulus;
- several protective factors are activated, such as sweat, tremors, and deconcentration, so that the person can balance body functioning again;
- triggering the cascade of negative emotions in which the next judgment becomes “contaminated” by the previous sensation and tends to be also negative. Thus, a hot customer is more likely to think a product is bad, even if, in normal situations, he is interested;
- the mind becomes more agitated and restless, which makes it sweep the entire environment in search of problems. Consequently, you can more easily give up on a product that you have already placed in the cart;
- all of this makes him also judge the other pillars of the customer experience, such as service, negatively.
As a result, there may be a significant compromise in billing and in attracting new customers. After all, supermarkets rely heavily on spontaneous word-of-mouth marketing, in which a user tells friends and family about the business he recommends.
Protection of equipment infrastructure
In addition, supermarkets need a much more stable and pleasant environment inside due to the very characteristics of the activities:
- food products, even non-perishables, deteriorate faster with excess heat and can lose quality;
- some perishables may be impossible to consume due to only a short time of exposure to temperatures above the recommended;
- refrigeration equipment does more work when exposed to higher temperatures. This causes them to spend more energy, need maintenance more often, or fail to perform their function properly;
- hypermarkets that sell electronic products may suffer from the burning of parts of the showcase due to exposure to solar incidence.
Energy efficiency, operational savings, and sustainability
Finally, there are three points that are interconnected. With good thermal insulation, there is a chain of factors that reduce the costs that a supermarket has with electricity:
- less need for air conditioning equipment, which can exceed 50% of energy costs in trade;
- as we explained, the hotter the environment, the greater the work of the refrigeration equipment.
This is essential since the latest surveys by supermarket associations show that the electricity bill is the second largest expense in this type of trade.
It is second only to the payroll. As we will see below, thermal discomfort causes a series of productivity, satisfaction, and well-being problems for employees. Consequently, improving climate control may have indirect impacts on the costs of maintaining human resources. Thus, its entire operational chain benefits from thermo acoustic insulation.
In addition, this savings does not only result in cash flow. Your company can take advantage of these measures to achieve an image of sustainability, which attracts more and more customers. Environmental responsibility is already part of the values of the average public, and not only of more educated segments.
As one of the main assessments made, it is the efficiency in the use of electric energy. By reducing your air conditioning capacity, you offer a measure that can be seen and felt by the customer, making them believe in your sustainable message even more.
To do this, integrate your insulation strategy with other sustainable values, such as the use of recyclable, durable, and more efficient materials.
Better working environment
the environment is an important measure of care for your workforce. All major ergonomics rules, such as Regulatory Norm No. 17, establish temperature and noise control as a criterion that employers should pay more attention to. If they are not followed, fines and unhealthy damages may be incurred.
In this sense, check some requirements of the standard:
- the temperature must be maintained between 23º and 26º celsius;
- the noise level must not exceed 65 decibels;
- the comfort level assessment will also include subjective factors, such as employee reports.
However, it is not just a matter of complying with the legislation. All of this will impact the results of your business:
- dissatisfied employees are more likely to perform poorly;
- the physiological phenomena that we explained above reduce the global cognitive capacity, such as attention and working memory, making them more prone to errors;
- consequently, deconcentration will be compromised and it will take more time for them to perform the same task, causing longer lines of cash and delay to meet customer demands;
- discomfort brings demotivation, causing less engagement with your business objectives and greater employee turnover. This increase costs with labor bureaucracies and training;
- the stress caused by the Fight and Escape Reaction releases hormones, such as cortisol, which predisposes individuals to depression and anxiety. Then, there will be a greater risk of sick leave due to health and legal proceedings for occupational diseases.
So, without investing in thermal insulation, you will save on one side, but losing much more on the other. In addition, we will show later that this action also helps to achieve important corporate objectives, such as reducing costs and losses.
What are the types of thermal and acoustic insulation?
There are several materials available on the market, we will talk about the main ones below.
Glass, rock wool, and PET wool
All three have a very similar mechanism, despite being made with different materials. They are small networks of interwoven thread like sheep’s wool, which means that a lot of air is stored inside, the gases conduct badly both heat and sound. In addition, the raw materials themselves have molecular structures that hinder the passage of heat.
Each of them has a unique advantage:
- the glass wool is cheaper but less resistant and slightly less efficient than the rock;
- rock wool has a greater capacity for sound insulation and durability;
- PET wool is made with recycled material, most of the time.
However, they only act to reduce conduction, which reduces the potential for improving thermal comfort.
Foams, sprays, and other plastic polymers
Plastic polymers have a large amount of air stored in their structure, in addition to being terrible conductors of heat by themselves. All of them are able to block only the driving, being less efficient than other technologies.
Foams are manufactured with materials, such as polyurethane, and are applied in the form of plates or strips. Often, they do not receive the proper treatment for safety and, when in contact with flames, they become flammable and release toxic gases.
The sprays are also made with polyurethane, but in liquid form and subjected to high pressures. When the installer activates the mechanism, it expands and forms a layer that sticks to the material. Therefore, it can only be used when there is superficial support.
Unlike the previous two options, they are materials that act only on irradiation. They are reflective sheets that return thermal energy to the environment. For this reason, they are not used indoors and are practically restricted to outdoor use on roofs and slabs.
In addition, this also prevents them from acting on sound insulation, making it necessary to associate them with other materials for this purpose.
How to choose suitable thermal insulation for your supermarket?
In such cases, it is very important to evaluate some characteristics of your business model that guarantee the optimization of your investment.
The insulation must be thermal and acoustic simultaneously
Since both thermal and acoustic comfort is part of the customer experience and ergonomics in the work environment, it makes no sense to choose materials that do not insulate both at the same time. You will have redoubled jobs, as, over time, you will realize that both are important to your corporate strategy.
It must offer protection against fire
There are several regulations that prohibit the use of certain combustible or flammable insulators in environments with the circulation of people. To earn certifications and safety permits, it is important to check the fire behavior of a certain material. In addition to being non-combustible and flammable, it must also offer a certain level of flame blocking
It needs to be versatile
They must come in several different models, such as malleable blankets, plates of different thicknesses, and tubes. With this, you guarantee that they can be used in all the structures of your supermarket, such as ventilation pipes, the roof, the walls, the floor, the plaster ceilings, among others. In addition, it must be able to conform to overcome the frequent obstacles of a supermarket, such as the shelves without causing much inconvenience to the installation.