The shopping experience is one that will always evolve, impacted by new technology, changing consumer behaviour and latest brand offerings. What no one predicted was the biggest impact of all – Covid.
The innovation we’ve seen due to the Pandemic would have taken place regardless over the next few years, but it has accelerated the speed at which these physical and virtual touchpoints have collided.
The challenge for retailers over the past year has been scaling up order fulfilment and inventory management quickly, cost-effectively, and smoothly. But now that shoppers can return to stores and browse, rather than panic-buy toilet paper, brands need to re-evaluate that consumer engagement.
For retailers using legacy POS systems, that kind of innovation may seem hard-to-reach, or prohibitively expensive. At Omnico we believe that legacy does not have to mean “outdated”. By integrating digital innovation, like self-scan apps and kiosks, and integrating new applications into legacy POS solutions, like 4690/ACE, users can reap the rewards of a new era of super-charged retail.
What the research tells us
The previous distinctions between “bricks and mortar” and “e-commerce” are gone, there is no technological difference between purchasing in-store and via an app, or browser, at home. Research has clearly shown, both before the Pandemic, and post, that customers want this technology, and that Covid has simply accelerated the demand for it.
Omnico’s own research in July 2019 revealed that US consumers wanted to shop with mobile app, kiosk, and self-scan technology.
- More than nine-in-ten (92%) respondents are ready to use kiosks for in-store payments
- More than half (52%) agree that paying at a self-service kiosk will improve their entire in-store experience.
- 37% across all age-groups believe Scan-and-pay apps would make life easier in a store.
- 69% said they are more likely to use a loyalty program if it is integrated in a mobile app that enables them to pay for goods, accumulate points, and spend them.
So how have things developed during the Pandemic?
- A survey by Shekel of shoppers revealed that 87% said they’d prefer to buy from stores that offered a contactless or self-checkout payment option.
- Citing safety and cleanliness, 79% of people worldwide say they are now using tap-and-go payments.
- 30% of consumers believe shopping experiences will never go back to the way they were.
- Global consumer mobile spending is expected to reach $270 billion by 2025.
- The rate of ecommerce penetration in the US grew by 10 years in a 90-day period in 2020, reaching around 33%.
To 4690 and beyond
While this research clearly highlights the acceleration in digital innovation post-Covid, how do legacy POS users adapt to this new way of shopping?
It’s a common misconception that legacy systems can’t be enhanced, but that’s a fallacy. Far from requiring major replacement or renewal of IT infrastructure, highly flexible solutions simply “plug in”. They enable operators to deploy digital technology like kiosks and dedicated apps with functionality irresistible to consumers.
To ensure a friction-free checkout process, through systems like Toshiba 4690/ACE, the key is to standardize the data across the various systems. By providing a uniform dataflow between systems (like the Toshiba 4690 ACE till together with a mobile app for example), it allows the real-time delivery of transactional data across different touchpoints together with customer, stock, and order data.
Driving innovation post-Covid
Technology innovation isn’t going away. The Pandemic has simply super-charged the need to provide this technology today. While some retailers have managed to adapt, or bolt-on various systems to comply with health and safety or create a work-around to a legacy system, now is the time to ensure the systems are integrated seamlessly. By enhancing what you have, with advanced AI and digital marketing platforms, with apps and kiosks, legacy 4690 retailers can ride the wave of post-Covid innovation the same as any other.
A legacy retailer’s post-Covid digital checklist
- BOPIS and curb side pick-up will give customers more options and can encourage in-store spend on collection
- Endless aisle capability within app can give customers in-store visibility of all available products
- Digital wish-lists that can be accessed in-store via various touchpoints, such as self-service Kiosk
- Virtual try-on of clothing to prevent returns
- In-queue customer engagement and virtual queueing to prevent long queues and customer frustration
- Mobile point-of-sale payments to alleviate checkout queues
- Inventory accuracy to allow online shoppers access to in-store stock levels
- Beacon technology to allow the real-time navigation of a store to stock from a mobile app or kiosk
- Integration of app shopping lists, with in-store sat-nav to ensure a socially distanced trip around the store