Mobile technology driving post-COVID retail transformation
The global pandemic has changed retailing and adjusted consumer expectations forever. But as vaccination rates rise and countries around the world at least partially return to life in person, shoppers are returning to stores. In many countries, retail foot traffic statistics are on the rise year over year and even compared to pre-pandemic data in 2019.
In this new era of commerce, retailers are increasingly using technology to support new consumer journeys through their stores.
When shoppers re-enter stores, they either pass through designated curbside pickup points serviced by staff with tablets or collect their orders from automated lockers managed remotely to reduce staff interaction with visitors. High-quality service concierges offer to help them find the right product, or shoppers are guided to ATM banks to increase the number of stores. RFID is increasingly used to create unique product experiences or achieve high inventory accuracy, which is necessary to support efficient Online Shopping and In-Store Pickup (BOPIS) operations.
Increasingly, retailers are designing their stores to either offer tactile experiences, with white gloves, or instead choose to focus on efficiency and throughout the offering through self-service and automation. In a study of more than 200 retail and hospitality executives, conducted by HP and Incisiv, respondents indicated that since the pandemic, their organizations have become more polarized between offering experience or convenience – choosing to rely on one or the other to design their shopping experiences.
Technology that helps retailers deliver both convenience and experience is Convertible point of sale systems. Convertible Point of Sale allows retailers to maintain a store architecture built around a fixed point of sale while enabling mobile payment, curbside pickup, in-aisle product viewing and shopping experiences personal. For associates, convertible systems enable back office tasks such as product receipt, inventory, and digital tasks.
Contactless payments are showing double-digit growth in the US, UK, Germany and most European markets, according to a study by VISA. Convertible point-of-sale solutions with integrated EMV payment allow retailers to capitalize on this trend, supporting the swap-checkout vision that retailers have sought for years. Associates can now serve customers at the counter or on the go with an all-in-one mobile device without having to fumble with payment devices or external readers.
A convertible point of sale gives retailers the flexibility of a fixed and mobile system in one, reducing the amount of devices needed to support store operations. Combined with a well thought-out omnichannel strategy, Convertible POS helps retailers optimize in-store processes to deliver a personalized shopping experience that thrills the customer.
For more information on how retailers are using mobile solutions to improve the in-store customer experience, or information on HP retail solutions, please visit www.hp.com/go/pos or contact the author on LinkedIn.
About the Author: Dmitry Sokolov is the Global Industry Strategist at HP and works with retailers and solution providers around the world to transform the future of retail experiences. From point of sale, mobility and self-service to distributed edge architectures, HP helps retailers excel in an ever-changing retail environment.