The global pandemic changed retail and adjusted consumer expectations forever. But as vaccination rates go up, and countries around the world return to at least partial in-person life, shoppers are returning to stores. In many countries retail foot traffic statistics are up year-over-year and even compared to pre-pandemic 2019 data.
In this new age of commerce, retailers are increasingly using technology to support new consumer journeys in their stores.
As shoppers re-enter the stores, they pass by designated curbside pickup spots serviced by staff with tablets or pick-up their orders at automated lockers managed remotely to reduce staff interaction with visitors. High-touch service concierges offer to help with finding the right product or shoppers are guided towards banks of self-checkouts to increase store throughput. RFID is increasingly used to create unique product experiences or achieve high inventory accuracy, which is needed to support efficient Buy-Online-Pick-up-In-Store (BOPIS) operations.
Increasingly, retailers are designing their stores to provide either high-touch, white-glove experiences or instead choose to focus on efficiency and throughput offered by self-service and automation. In a study of over 200 retail and hospitality executives, conducted by HP and Incisiv, respondents indicated that since the pandemic, their organizations have become more polarized between providing experience or convenience – choosing to lean on one or the other in designing their shopping experiences.
One technology that is helping retailers deliver on both convenience and experience is Convertible Point of Sale Systems. Convertible POS allows retailers to maintain store architecture built around fixed POS while enabling mobile checkout, curbside pick-up, in-aisle product consultation and personal shopper experiences. For associates, convertible systems enable back-office tasks such as product receiving, inventory and digital tasking.
According to research by VISA, contactless payments are showing double-digit growth across the U.S., UK, Germany and most European markets. Convertible POS solutions with integrated EMV payment allow retailers to capitalize on this trend, supporting the mobile checkout vision retailers have been after for years. Associates can now service customers either at the counter or on the go with an all-in-one mobile device without fumbling with external payment devices or readers.
A convertible POS offers retailers flexibility of a fixed and mobile system in one, reducing the quantity of devices needed to support store operations. Combined with a well thought-out omni-channel strategy, convertible POS helps retailers optimize store processes to deliver a personalized shopping experience that delights the customer.
For more information on how retailers are using mobile solutions to improve in-store customer experience, or information on HP Retail Solutions, please visit www.hp.com/go/pos or get in touch with the author on LinkedIn.
About the Author:Dmitry Sokolov is the Global Industry Strategist at HP working with retailers and solution providers around the world on transforming the future of retail experiences. From point-of-sale, mobility and self-service to distributed edge architectures, HP is helping retailers excel in a constantly evolving retail environment.