In 2016, global e-commerce sales grew by 24.6%, and studies estimate by 2021, e-commerce will account for 15.5% of global retail sales.
These numbers indicate shift in shopping patterns and suggest shoppers prefer online shopping over in-store shopping. But a recent survey by Synqera reported in MediaPost found that more than two-thirds of people still choose in-store shopping.
If it is so, then why are more shoppers embracing online shopping every day? The answer lies in shopping hurdles that end up as ‘deal breakers’ for retail stores. Customers want seamless, speedy and less tedious shopping experience which brick-and-mortar shops fail to deliver.
The biggest deal breaker is the long and slow-moving check-out lines as indicated by Syneqra’s survey. More than 70% of surveyed customers admitted checkout process is the biggest pain point during in –store shopping. As online shopping has no such worries, customers are attracted towards it.
This makes the game simple for brick-and-mortar retail businesses. Either surrender to the competition poised by online shopping or innovate and transform the check-out process.
The giants in the retail business have already got off to a head start and have made revolutionary breakthroughs. In this high-speed tech age, retailers are embracing new tech solutions to eradicate customer grievances and create a flawless and hassle-free shopping experience.
From mobile point-of-sale systems to self-checkout kiosks, retailers are innovating to an extent of wiping out the checkout process only. This is the future of in-store shopping!
Shrinking Check-out line
Innovations in checkout lines have begun long back.
You must have encountered contactless pay options during your recent in-store shopping endeavor. Inclusion of these payment tools mean retailers have acknowledged customer’s frustration of waiting for an eternity in the check-out line and are working towards eliminating this waiting time.
Contactless chip cards save troubles and time by allowing customers to pay directly for their purchase. Popularity of contactless chip cards varies across geographies. According to reports, transactions through contactless chip cards are booming in countries like Canada and Australia while in USA, its growth hasn’t skyrocketed.
Contactless chip cards have received serious challenge from mobile payments. This tool is gaining momentum as it enables customers to pay through their smartphones without need of any additional cards or devices.
Tech titans like Android, Samsung and Apple have sensed the immense potential of mobile payments and have entered the battlefield of mobile wallets. The emerging economies have already seen tremendous growth in mobile payments while matured economies aren’t far behind. An article in technode says mobile payments are pushing China towards a cashless society and the rest of the world is likely to follow suite.
For small business owners, investment needed for developing personal mobile payment app may be overwhelming but it shouldn’t deter them from diving into this cashless payment option as several services offer cheap and secure options.
Going paperless is another way of reducing customer’s time spent in the check-out line. By offering digital receipts such as email receipts retailers save time in printing and also make it easier for product returns and exchanges.
Paperless receipts have other benefits as well. Digital documents are convenient to arrange and retrieve. Studies show that employees spent 30% of worktime on searching papers, thus going paperless propels efficiency and also reduces carbon footprints.
Using Mobile to Move Checkout Line
Traditional checkout lines feature long queues and heavy concentration of customers in one corner of the store. This is due to the rigidity factor of traditional checkout lines.
But thanks to cutting-edge tech solutions, retailers now have liberty to set-up checkout counters anywhere in the shop. This is possible courtesy of mobile-based point-of-sale systems which transforms any smartphone or tablet into a point-of-sale system.
Employees can now disperse the sea of eagerly waiting customers at stationary checkout counters by setting up mobile checkout counters throughout the shop and deliver prompt customer service.
Floating checkout counters go beyond payment services and assist employees in other facets of customer handling. Shopify responsive design creates mobile –based POS devices that are host to crucial product information such as current stock details and product specs making it easier for employees to inform customers about products.
As all the requited information is available at fingertips, employees are able to answer customer queries at checkout counter in no time resulting in eating out customer wait time. As the length of checkout line shrinks, employees are less burdened while dealing with customers as they have the liberty to take their time while engaging with customers.
The dispersed POS system equips every employee and makes them more resourceful. This means customers don’t have to cramp at one corner of the store to make payments and get their doubts cleared. Dispersed POS system allows a single employee to deal with all customer issues from payments to product clarifications resulting in better customer management.
Getting Rid OF The Checkout Line
Until now, we looked at state-of-the-art tech solutions that curtail the length of checkout line by making payment process swift and quick. But can tech solutions go further and eliminate the checkout line altogether?
It comes as no surprise that indeed some retailers have started working on these lines already and have made significant in-roads. Not having a checkout line looks as a certain possibility in near future and the effects of this revolutionary advancement are far reaching for customers as well as for retailers.
But how are retailers able to wipe out the checkout line? Here we let you peep into some of the modern tools that allow retailers to deliver a shopping experience minus the troubles of checkout Iines.
Although creating your own retailer app demands serious investment, it does offer tangible results. Through retail apps you can help customers with in-store navigation, make purchases easy, reduce their wait time at checkout counters and create engaging communication.
Retail apps build loyal customer base and boosts sales. For customers too, retail apps bring convenience and make shopping experience less tedious. The plethora of benefits offered by retailer apps is making them popular across globe. This popularity is reflected in Flurry’s report which reveals usage of retail apps increased by 174% in 2014.
Small retailers too can join the bandwagon and woo more customers through dedicated retail apps. Several cost-effective service providers such as shopify store design are more than willing to help retailers in this regard.
Revolutionizing the food ordering experience
Restaurants too have started innovating to reduce customer wait time while ordering food. Fast food restaurants like McDonalds have incorporated self-serving kiosks that enable customers to order their food by themselves and leave behind traditional food ordering queues.
If investing in such touch-screen kiosks is intimidating, then smaller restaurants can take help from services such as MenuPad that keep the human presence alive while injecting automation in food ordering process.
MenuPad allows customers to order and pay for food by their own through digital screens but the rest of the services such as serving food, greeting and responding to customer doubts is done by waiters and other staff members. So, customers enjoy seamless service that too without missing out on the human element.
Another high-tech service Ritual is helping restaurants that deal with corporate lunchtime to deliver food without wasting any time. Through Ritual customers order their food while sitting in the office and reach the restaurant once the food is ready. This process kills the waiting time allowing customers to make the most of their already cramped lunch-time.
Best Of Online And Offline At One Place
‘Showrooming’ is the latest trend in shopping which combines online and offline features to create a unique shopping experience.
Lack of ‘actual feel’ of products is one of the biggest deal breakers in online shopping while the tedious payment process in offline shopping worries customers. Showrooming bridges the gap between the two and creates a midway.
Customers visit retail shop to check and to get a feel of the product and then go online to buy that product. This showrooming process is unapproved by several retailers but brands such as Warby Parker have used it to their benefit.
Warby Parker’s sales of glasses happen entirely online but they have opened up shops at selected locations where customers walk-in to try on the frames in person.
Retailers can benefit from showrooming by playing smart. Instead of showcasing the entire inventory in person, retailers can keep selected items on display and ask customers to check rest of the products online. This saves space and reduces investment cost.
How Does the Future of Checkout Line Looks?
It is obvious that retailers across the globe are signing up for the ‘mission to kill checkout line’ as doing so is imperative for them for staying relevant in the age of online shopping.
But wiping out checkout line requires massive tech tools which translate into tremendous investment. Top players in retail industry won’t bait an eye while pumping serious money into revolutionizing the checkout line but for small retailers such investments would be overkill.
Even then, such small retailers can stay afloat and kill the checkout line by embracing plausible tools such as digital receipts, mobile payments and floating POS systems.