Point-of-sale hardware retailers roll out to modernize checkout experiences
For retailers, mobile point-of-sale (POS) hardware works in tandem with industry-leading apps to speed checkout and provide the most up-to-date inventory data. Think of this phenomenon as the modern cost of doing business.
So what point-of-sale hardware are stores using to make customer checkout experiences smoother? And what data do retailers collect from these solutions? Continue reading.
Why retailers are modernizing payment
It would be impossible to talk about a modernized checkout without first explaining why it has become so necessary. “The pandemic has resulted in a loss of foot traffic, a loss of ability to interact with customers, and an increased focus on e-commerce,” says Wali Azim, CDW District Sales Manager for the Pacific Northwest.
Consequently, the pandemic became a boom time for online shopping, and with that, “there was a need to create some sort of consistent customer experience across all engagement channels, online and offline,” adds Azim.
Due to the amount of online shopping, “today’s consumer is more educated than ever,” says Azim. “In a retail environment, being able to make a sale quickly is critical because even when a customer is in your store, they may be buying online from another retailer.” And people definitely don’t want to queue anymore: “If they walk into a store, it’s for a very specific reason, but as soon as they find what they want, they want a more online checkout experience. line.”
This is where the modern checkout experience comes in, allowing customers to shop as quickly and efficiently in the store as they would at home.
While many modernized checkout features were rapidly gaining traction before the pandemic for speed and convenience, COVID-19 has accelerated demand.
The pandemic has also created staffing shortages, forcing retailers to do more with less. “You still had to stock the shelves and provide an exceptional customer experience for those who came to the store, but there was also BOPIS to contend with,” says Azim, referring to the ability to buy online and pick up in store.
That’s why providing staff with wearable mobile devices to facilitate the entire buying journey – from purchase decision to actual purchase – has become essential for a seamless checkout experience.
“I see no evidence of an end to staff shortages,” adds Tim Kane, director of retail industry at Zebra Technologiesone of the largest suppliers of portable mobile devices for the retail sector.
Staff shortage or not, in business as in life, there is no going back. Going forward, retailers need to embrace the modern checkout experience to continue to accommodate a population that has grown accustomed to easy and fast shopping.
The features of the modernized body and its advantages
With a modernized checkout system, stores can connect with this post-pandemic consumer. Here are some of its basic elements:
- Contactless payment. Even before the pandemic, contactless payment (also called contactless) was on the rise, but it has now become common practice for hygiene as well as convenience. Contactless payments are those processed through a mobile device or near-field communication technology, as in Apple Pay or Google Pay. Merchants who have not yet adopted payment terminals capable of accepting contactless payments should make this a top priority.
- Contactless payment. Many services fall under the category of contactless payments, and they go far beyond contactless payment terminals. What they have in common is that they don’t involve a line or interaction with a person at checkout. Retailers are rolling out options such as pickup lockers, self-checkouts, curbside pickup, and BOPIS.
- Mobile devices. What’s better than walking into a store, finding what you need, skipping the checkout line, and having the cashier come straight to you? Retailers who have equipped their staff with mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, have essentially enabled this luxury. In addition to improving the customer experience, making it faster and more efficient, mobile devices help associates. They enable Associates to provide product and availability information and provide point-of-sale functionality to customers. Availability is especially important considering that, according to Zebra 14th Annual Global Buyer Survey, more than 70% of consumers confirm that they recently left stores without all the items they wanted, and nearly half cite out-of-stock items as a reason for not making a purchase in-store. In addition to Zebra, technology companies such as Honeywell and Apple offer solutions in this space.
- Advanced kiosks. These stand-alone terminals can perform many functions, including transactional (electronic funds transfer), informational (what are your store hours?), and functional (printing something). Suppliers include Ingenico, NCR, Verifone and ViewSonic. Much of what kiosks do is determined by software. They can be network connected and embed video – it all depends on how they were developed. Kiosks can eliminate human-to-human communication issues, reduce wait times, facilitate upselling, and help optimize employee time.
Lessons learned through modern payment
“Using machine learning, we’re starting to look at how much time each associate spends with shoppers, how many shoppers are in store, and more,” Kane says. “A retailer can use these analytics to look at anything relevant to them.”
Retailers can glean information about why you walked into a store, whether you found and bought what you were looking for or not, and your in-store “trail” (where you walked and how you got there ). All of this can help retailers set up their stores to be as attractive and easy to navigate as possible, which is a win for retailers and consumers alike.