As frictionless commerce continues to grow in popularity, retailers are identifying how to integrate the innovative technology into their overall business strategy. To do so, they must determine whether to evolve existing solutions or revolutionize existing processes to keep up with competition. While there are benefits to both approaches, there are three key considerations retailers must keep in mind as they make the transition to a smooth commerce strategy:
1. Put the customer first.
Every technology decision should be focused on the unique preferences and needs of a retailer’s customer base. The goal for implementing a new solution shouldn’t be trying to “get ahead” by simply having the latest and greatest technology.
Instead, retailers must put the customer first in each technology decision. Those retailers that prioritize their customers’ needs will find that frictionless technology is the next logical step. After all, checkout is a common pain point.
In 2018 — before the pandemic — more than 51 percent of shoppers left a store without a purchase due to long lines. Now, customers are even more willing to experiment with new technology if it means they can be in an out of a store as quickly as possible.
2. Invest in the right technology.
As retail segments continue to converge, the technology used in each type of store has become increasingly similar. For example, supermarkets offer dine-in options and fuel services, and convenience stores offer prepared food options.
To best meet customer expectations, it’s critical to understand different types of frictionless options and the return on investment they will provide. Buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS), point-of-sale (POS) kiosks and scanless technology are all able to alleviate — or eliminate altogether — checkout lines, but can also lead to increased sales and margins, as well as reduced labor costs and resources.
For instance, if less staff is needed at the checkout lane, the excess staffing time can be used to provide personalized shopping services, or the store’s operating hours can be extended. What’s more, a unified POS allows retailers to better service customers because it makes use of centralized data, procured no matter which channel a consumer uses to shop or how they check out.
3. Innovate the digital experience ecosystem.
It’s not enough to install new technology and then step aside. Successful innovation requires an in-store digital experience ecosystem that connects managed services with professional services.
The team that designed and installed the technology should be able to communicate with the team tasked with monitoring and maintaining it, as well as the associates that ultimately use the technology. This ensures that the solutions work just as well on day 1,000 and 10,000 as they did on the day they were installed.
Despite these moving parts, customers always need one source of truth in-store, powered by all technology systems and teams. Within a fully integrated store, technology can help retailers foster a convenient and personalized customer experience, integrating technologies such as heatmapping, cart analysis, loyalty programs and more.
Join the Evolution With a Robust Business Strategy
Frictionless technology is an ongoing evolution, and retailers that continue to innovate will benefit tremendously.
Between self-service, scan-and-go, scanless, smart shopping carts, or a technology we haven’t yet imagined, retailers must ensure that the solutions they use ultimately serve and improve the customer experience. As well, they must regularly evaluate their existing solutions for new features and additions that benefit shoppers as their expectations evolve.
With a robust frictionless commerce strategy, retailers can join the evolution and ensure the lasting success of their brand.
Michael Jaszczyk is the CEO of GK Software USA, a leading omnichannel solutions company.
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