Modern retail is all about convenience, catering to a new-age shopper whose inherent desire is to buy what they want, when they want it, as swiftly as possible.
It’s a landscape enabled by technology where the lines between bricks and mortar and online shopping are increasingly blurred.
It’s also an environment with fresh challenges for traditional shop fronts, where retail has to step up to draw shoppers through the door and prompt them to buy in an age where competition is only the touch of a smartphone button or internet search away.
Here are four ways retailers can ride the technological wave and cash in on new commerce…
The mobile Point of Sale is arguably the technological bridge enabling traditional retail to provide seamless service and ultimate convenience for the modern shopper. It plays to bricks and mortar strength of allowing consumers to touch, feel and instantly take home the product of their fancy.
As simple to set up as acquiring a commercial tablet and downloading a point of sale app, mobile POS enables retailers to take the register to the consumer, set up information kiosks or have the internet at their fingertips to handle customer inquiries.
Critically, mobile POS enables retailers to shorten the length of time spent in the queue, enabling that all-important purchase to be facilitated quickly, seamlessly and right there on the shop floor.
So popular is mobile POS for queue cutting that Forbes notes: “87% of retailers will deploy mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) devices by 2021, enabling them to scan and accept credit or debit payments anywhere in the store”.
Aside from easy payments, mobile POS also allows immediate access to information for the sales person and store owner alike. If a customer wants to know whether an item is available in red, a larger size or is trending on social media, the salesperson simply grabs the tablet, conducts a quick inventory or social media search and furnishes the client with all the information they need to buy right there, right then.
Meanwhile, the store manager can log in from anywhere at any time to access information about how their shop is performing, add stock, alter staff rosters and improve in-store efficiencies.
Easy payments aren’t just about where purchases are accepted but also the type of payments options available, and in an age where traditional retail is contending with an online realm, convenience is key.
That means retailers should be embracing the digital wallet, contactless card processing and providing as many ways as possible for the consumer to easily commit to buy.
Australia leads the charge when it comes to contactless and digital wallet payments, meaning retailers need to offer a selection of payment options that allow cash, chip and pin, tap n go and further options like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Pay and Android Pay.
To truly straddle the online and physical divide, retail needs to be looking towards the omni-channel environment, allowing the same products and services to be delivered via a number of media like apps, social media, websites and in-store.
Director of user experience for commerce solutions provider WebLinc, James Van Arsdale III, told Business News Daily an optimised customer experience across all channels was imperative to driving e-commerce success.
“Customers want the same content, delivered to them on whatever device they want, so they don’t have to waste time searching. It’s all about tailoring the interface and content to easily allow customers to find what they’re looking for,” he explained.
Ease of delivery
So the item has been researched, decided upon and ultimately purchased, now it’s about speed of delivery, and this an area where e-commerce giant Amazon excels.
Consumers want their gratification to be as swift as possible, making speed of delivery essential to the consumer experience. Bricks and mortar retail has an obvious benefit here, with consumers leaving the store package in hand, but in the aforementioned Omni-channel environment it’s about providing that same gratification no matter the online or in-app purchasing platform.
According to SecurePay, recent consumer surveys indicate it’s important retailers offer a choice of delivery days and times, as well as convenient collection locations like lockers.
“Same-day delivery is certainly a component of that,” Ben Franzi, General Manager Global eCommerce Platform Sales at Australia Post and StarTrack explained.
“However, research shows that lower prices are still more important than same-day delivery and most [Australian] consumers still choose cheaper shipping options over a same-day service.”
The final word
New commerce presents new opportunities for retail to serve and satisfy its customers in fresh and innovative ways – to predict their needs, and satisfy them more swiftly than ever before. It’s about ease, convenience and satiating the technologically armed shopper.