There is no going backward in tech.
Welcome to 2020, a unique era of unparalleled choice for consumers, each layered upon the level of convenience sought. As forcing consumer change is non-negotiable, many businesses find themselves also surrounded by a maze of retail technology choices designed to meet customers on their level. “What’s next?” is the question many business owners ask. The answer: evolve with your customers. The future of retail is tech.
RSPA Inspire 2020 conference addressed this universal challenge, and Andrew Faulkner, owner of Staley Technologies, brought his expertise in disruptive tech to a panel discussion on the future of retail technology. Three tech trends causing marketplace disruption: self-serve kiosks, online ordering via third-party and Guest WiFi analytics.
The market will remain user-demanded, consumer-driven and increasingly centered on purchaser ease of interaction. The hyperfocus on the consumer seems one-sided, but today’s tech is reciprocal. Staley connects retailers with converging technologies that give consumers a choice in how they interact with a business. Businesses benefit from granular analytics that allows for process improvement and increased profit margins.
Monetizing interactive self-kiosks and Guest WiFi enhances customer experience and engagement while providing businesses with invaluable market research. Guest WiFi analytics lets a brand hone itself based on a data-backed understanding of its customers. However, these changes require the heavily-fortified WiFi and network infrastructure tantamount to ensuring data protection and consumer trust.
More than trend following.
Growing a loyal customer base in the future will require more than just keeping up with trends. Refreshing a brand can be as simple as giving consumers additional or novel ways to interact with retailers on social media platforms.
Online ordering of everything is now a thing, and retailers will benefit from adding this service of convenience. Third-party delivery services are abundant, and eventually, all retailers will need a seamless shipping or delivery process. An agile solutions provider can help a brand be creative by taking advantage of today’s sci-fi level tech. When your customers demand more, Staley will find the solution.
Solving productivity lapses with tech.
Kiosks free up staff to channel energy back into customer assistance and guest experience. Other productivity solutions include kiosks with cash recycling capabilities in addition to card readers. Coupled with mobile, wireless payment devices, the whole team can multi-task when line-busting is needed.
The trend is not to replace workers, but to free them up to focus on customers. The payment process can be drawn out longer than needed when using outdated methods, causing sales to walk out. Long lines are last-decade. Good help can be hard to find, but finding great tech is easy with the knowledge of the common pain-points. Labor costs directly affect profits, and implementing a few solutions can resolve lapses in productivity without hiring additional staff. Self-serve kiosks are here to stay, and that is good for business owners.
Many trends are based on voiced consumer wants, not necessarily needs; over time these wants become the base level of expectations. But with so many available choices, consumers drift easily; the hardest task is to find what makes them brand-loyal. The solution to that continues to be “interact, they’ll tell you.” Consumer interaction is most potent when analytics is coupled with third-party upsell opportunities, such as loyalty programs. Reward your customers, and they will return. Surveys can also provide insights into overlooked areas of improvement and help to see your brand through the lens of the consumer.
Cybersecurity for IoT.
Tech undoubtedly will become more integrated with all retail operations over time, and cybersecurity is interwoven into a tech-saturated world. Managed Services will become a central figure in the tech-focused retail environment. An experienced MSP will keep background operations running smoothly, ensuring the network is safe, up-to-date and PCI compliant.
Embracing incremental changes now will make the transition easier as this tech becomes the base level of expectations tomorrow.
The next decade will redefine retail.