Retailing is rapidly changing especially with the bricks and mortar stores competing with eCommerce and eBusiness sites such as Amazon, Zappos, BestBuy, eBay and traditional stores. Traditional retailers have taken to the web and now offer an extensive product lines on their website. Leaders in the market are exploring new ways of engaging customers such as line busting, mobile payments and mobile engagement and near instant product delivery are a few major retailing trends that have started to emerge.
In an earlier post we spoke about line busting. Line-busting is when a line forms and mobile technology is used to scan each item, print the bill or receipt and collect payment using mobile technology. In this scenario the retailer comes to the line to expedite checkout and ultimately raise customer satisfaction. This was investigated but not implemented by INDIGO Books and Music about 10 years ago. Then, the technology existed but not nearly as smooth as it is today with further integration from the POS to the back office ERP. Mobile data collection and mobile payment methodologies are far more advanced to facilitate this type of customer service. Line-busting is a great tool for retailers to have during seasonal spikes in traffic such as Christmas, Halloween, Easter, Valentine’s Day etc. This will speed up check out, shorten lines and raise customer satisfaction.
Mobile payments have gained considerable traction over the last few years. Whether it is RFID, Square, touchless VISA or MC payments, Paypal and others have popped up to help expediate payment. The use of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets has further increased the convenience to retailers and customers alike. New and emerging payment methods are emerging everyday and this should help retailers capture more sales as customers can find easier ways to select and pay for products using the transaction type they are most comfortable with. Mobile now is a lot smarter than it was 10 years ago and many new things have evolved from use of mobile devices such as comparison shopping, coupon validation, QR codes etc. These new forms of comparison shopping can instantly save time and money for consumers by using their mobile devices.
One of the newer trends emerging is near instant product delivery. This is basically where you purchase something online and the product is delivered nearly right away or a few hours after purchase. Think of Grocery Gateway, shoppers purchase groceries online and it is delivered to you later that day. The same applies for these new services of near-instant delivery – same day delivery. Companies such as Fedex, Amazon, UPS, eBay and others are developing this technology, the logistics and payment networks behind the frontend to make this a reality and service available in the near future. Think about the possibility of ordering a flatscreen TV and having it the same day. The backend systems which are usually ERP or some form of IT systems that unite the operations will be taken to the front office to the POS or retail store using one system and no integrations of data. This may be useful for manufacturers and wholesale distributors that could possibly sell products directly to consumers from their warehouse. By providing POS functionality on the frontend will greatly diminish the IT effort to implement an separate POS and the integration headaches especially with data syncing.
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