Retail sales are expected to rise at least 4.5% for the remainder of 2018 according to the National Retail Federation, and more than one fifth (22%) of US consumers are planning to spend at least $500 on Black Friday. Given the rapid influx of consumers swarming into stores during the holiday season each year, it is clear that the season will be a battle won if retailers take steps to create a fast and frictionless customer experience. One way retailers are preparing for the holiday season is by improving their customer service capabilities with technology – in particular, innovations that accelerate the checkout process.
With large retailers, like Walmart, investing in in-store technology – such as automated kiosks and mobile apps for staff – consumer expectations are on the rise. Other major US retailers are trialing ‘scan and go’ concepts, while in the UK grocery sector Sainsbury’s are trialing checkout-free shopping with mobile phones. The trend is clear, and for this reason it is imperative that other retailers do all that they can to avoid falling behind.
From an insider’s perspective, these developments have led to increased pressure on Store Operations, Chief Information Officers and other senior decision makers to shape this in-store revolution. This is redefining how they can meet the demands of new consumer buying habits within the physical retail space, while simultaneously driving cost savings and operational efficiency.
The opportunity to adopt these new technologies is now. Retailers can ill afford long queues at the till in peak trading periods, let alone negative customer reviews. The smart retailers are optimizing their existing store technology to make a real difference to the lives of their customers. Key technology like mobile POS tablets, kiosks or high-performance self-checkout can reduce long lines, accelerate transactions and drive incremental revenue during peak sales periods, helping retailers differentiate their in-store experience without breaking the bank.
So, let’s watch this space to see who is going to make a difference to the lives of those busy consumers as the holiday period comes our way.