The Point Of Sale Of The Future: 4 Reasons Retail Is Going Contactless, Mobile, More Personalized
Even though online sales are inevitably rising, the demand for in-person retail experiences remains strong: customers still want the opportunity to walk into a physical space and see, touch, test and discover new products, all while having the possibility to ask an associate for product purchasing guidance. Point of Sale systems have developed over the years from being one central cash register at checkout to numerous invaluable checkpoints – each playing a critical role in the customer’s overall retail experience. In the future, instead of being used solely for transactional purposes, POS technology will move to greatly empower the customer, by letting them decide when, where and how they want their shopping experience to be.
Here are some ways in which the POS is further developing and positively transforming the experience of the customer.
1. Putting The Point Of Sale On The Customer’s Device
In the industry it is already common to find POS being run on a mobile device such as a tablet or smartphone. Retailers are indeed looking into more possibilities using this method of sale, however they are also acknowledging that more consumers desire to be interacting with their own mobile devices while shopping in the retail environment.
A retail company, Marks & Spencer, introduced a Mobile Pay Go device application which allows customers to pay without checking out and to skip long lines in packed stores. With this app, customers can pay for their lunch in less than 40 seconds.
To continue to transfer transactional power to the hands of the customer, other retailers are exploring a similar method, by not only adding mobile POS to stores but also introducing the app function of scan, pay and go. Some convenience stores in Northern Ireland, Spar and Eurospar, launched such a mobile app to empower consumers to create shopping lists before visiting the store and to ensure that certain desired items are actually in stock before leaving the home.
The convenience of planning ahead, however, is just one advantage that the app offers. Through the use of this app, consumers can be lead through the retail space with aisle satnav, scan items while shopping, and lookup dietary, allergen and sustainability facts, including whether the packaging can be recycled .
2. Taking Advantage Of Cloud-based Technology
Information such as sales data and store transactions from the point of sale needs to be accessible to retail employees on their devices regardless of their location in the store. The retail industry is currently widely implementing cloud technology , due to the possibility to combine omnichannel orders with inventory, customer and transaction data.
All this data is then up to date and accessible for employees and associates to work with. Such multitudes of data puts retailers in the position to optimize inventory administration and store performance, offer special, customized deals for customers, deliver unlimited aisle options, and introduce personalized and unique brand experiences.
Waitrose, a UK grocery retail chain, is concentrating such functionalities with the customer by allowing them to create a shopping basket in the cloud that can be reached from any device. In practice, the customer starts the retail shopping process on their mobile device, where they add the essential items that are required, then later at home they can add onto the list from their laptop.
When the customer reaches the store, they would scan additional goods prior to checkout. While shopping, the customer can be assured that they are receiving the best deals on each item, because the same promotion engine is being driven on all of the integrated devices.
It is critical to be implementing up-to-date technology to stay competitive in an environment in which consumer attitudes and habits are evolving rapidly. Cloud-based POS solutions offer the overwhelming advantage of having automatic program upgrades and updates .
Retailers can easily keep up with the changing technological landscape because new software functions and features are automatically integrated into the retail network right as they are released by the technology providers.
3. Personalizing The Customer Experience At The Point Of Sale And Beyond
Eight in ten adults in the United States are wanting a personalized shopping experience and customized offers from retailers, according to a recent survey of 1,000 by Epsilon. In another survey, Accenture found that 91% of customers lean towards shopping with businesses that are aware of their needs and offer personalized promotions and suggestions .
The latest point of sale solution empowers you to meet the needs of your customers through personalized experiences. A POS software such as one with clienteling functionality helps to pinpoint customers that are already registered with your business, which allows your employees to provide thoroughly individualized and applicable product guidance.
You can even branch out and identify which items a consumer may purchase again in the future using their prior purchasing data by implementing machine learning (ML). The store employee can then utilize the automatically generated list of suggested products, facilitated by an ML-powered recommendation engine at the POS to create individualized suggestions. It is very likely that in the future intelligent retail will expand to additional touchpoints.
For example, Amazon collects an abundance of consumer data through each Amazon Go store purchase, making it very likely that the near future will entail suggestions of purchasing staples that haven’t been bought recently or recipes for meals that could be prepared using current items in the shopping cart.
The future willprobablyalso normalize dynamic and hyper-personalized promotions. This would allow the customer to be led to another related item that they typically purchase located on the same aisle after they make their first scan of an item. They would also have the option to provide their dietary restrictions and health objectives, and get relevant generated notifications and suggestions that appear on their personal device throughout the shopping experience.
4. Embracing Contactless Tech
Covid-19 has catalyzed the expansion and acquisition of contactless technology, and therefore made the use of contactless payment prevalent. For example, a majority of customers worry about using coins and bills, and as a result will be using contactless and online payments as opposed to physical currency. According to calculations from Valuates Reports, it is predicted that in the next 5 years the contactless payment market will be more than twice its current size.
Contactless technology is being utilized for far more than just payments at the point of sale. Showfields, a tech-savvy department store, created an app, Magic Wand, that empowers customers to interface in a contactless manner with each part of the store. There are ‘magic’ NFC tags placed on all the products in the store, which the customers can tap their device to to learn more about the item, the associated brand, and further relevant details. All the items for intended purchase are added to a virtual cart.
After purchase, the bought goods are packaged and dropped off at one of the designated pick-up points in the store. Due to such technology, it is now a possibility for the customer to have a completely contactless in-person shopping experience – should they desire it. Their mobile device can be used as the main facilitator for browsing and learning about products, as well as completing the final purchase.
With Amazon’s Dash Cart, a contactless point of sale is built into a smart cart, providing similar advantages to the cashierless Amazon Go stores, without requiring a business to completely transform into a system where the customer can ‘just walk out’. Barcode scanning, along with the use of a “combination of computer vision algorithms and sensor fusion” allows the Dash Cart to register items as they are placed in it.
When an item is effectively identified and added to both the physical and virtual shopping cart, the Dash Cart sounds an approving beep signal. At the end of the in-person shopping experience, the customer collects their items and leaves the store. Their amazon account is then billed automatically.
Retail businesses are in pressing demand to come up with and implement creative solutions to succeed in the competitive market. A large portion of retailers are realizing as of late the necessity to adopt digital solutions inside the store to captivate new customers and to facilitate a more convenient, exciting and memorable shopping experience.
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