The global health crisis has shaped - and continues to shape - a new reality, accelerating change and digitalization across industries. The retail industry has been in an endless search to bring together the right customers with the right products in-store and online, by bridging the gap between these channels, by delighting consumers, and by delivering interactive, fun, and convenient digital and in-store experiences. At the same time, retailers have been trying to adapt to and comply with sustainable business practices and to keep their employees happy, as they are key to delivering a memorable customer experience.
As we are trying to shake off the challenges of the past years and take a step forward, businesses and consumers need to shift their mindset, keep up with the latest changes and define the future shopping experience.
According to a Deloitte research on the trends in the retail market for 2022, it seems that consumers expect from retailers to embrace digital and explore digital products and experiences, especially now that Gen Z becomes more and more important as they have entered both at the customer and the employee stage. At the same time, consumers demand more convenience, greater transparency, and control in the way they shop, with frictionless and contactless retail experiences, checkout-free stores, and ultra-fast deliveries becoming mainstream. Furthermore, it appears that business practices with a higher purpose, especially those related to sustainability, continue to influence consumer behavior.
In other words, as consumers are coping with and adjusting to life in a new normal, they’re looking to retailers to offer more than business as usual and satisfy their new needs.
In order to build a resilient and broad-based operation and respond quickly to new consumer expectations, retailers and entrepreneurs are being asked to explore new business models and consider better ways to support their employees to ensure the sustainability of their business in future. It appears that many retailers have managed to take advantage of the new consumer needs and the unprecedented conditions created by the pandemic to accelerate the digital transformation of their business and introduce new technologies and innovative solutions to consumers that continue to use even after the first waves of the pandemic, and that have now become part of their shopping routine. The online and digital retail world is no longer the sole territory of online businesses or agile startups; traditional retailers have changed the game.
However, it is a fact that when the pandemic first broke out, a significant portion of consumers turned online, but many businesses were unprepared. Their existing systems were not ready for the adoption of e-commerce or a multi -channel way of communicating with their customers, and they faced a sudden requirement to upgrade their business models and infrastructure.
Solutions for modern age retail
In this context, at Printec we offer a series of solutions for stores built for the digital era customers, aimed at granting consumers the control they seek over their in-store experience, while ensuring service quality and a personalized experience.
Customer facing solutions
There are solutions that can serve customers 24/7 and are placed outside the store, like vending machines, click & collect lockers where customers can pick up their online orders at their convenience and outdoor payment terminals that customers can use to complete a number of transactions. Inside the store, solutions like informational self-service points, digital signage, queue management solutions, and electronic shelf labels can make consumer experience smoother and more interactive.
Solutions at the cashier
Intelligent cashiers that automate the whole process, self checkout machines that grant customers fast service, control, and flexibility and ECR POSes and peripherals that fit all retail needs and are reliable; this is how you can grant customers a seamless checkout experience.
Back-office cash handling solutions that optimize the cash chain, reduce workload, and save costs, smart safes that enable self-service deposits and automate the process, and pre-paid and rechargeable cards for retailers to give to their B2B customers that increase customer base.
The importance of payments
Today more than ever, both consumers and businesses are looking for direct, fast and easy payment methods. Globally, many systems already have the option of immediate payment through a fully automated checkout. For example, in the UK real-time payments have been available since 2008. On the other hand, the US encounters a great degree of complexity resulting from the much larger number of banks than in other countries.
Businesses that are unable to accept certain payment methods may experience constrained growth in the post-pandemic world, while peer-to-peer contactless payments, even between different types of wallets, and QR code payments should become commonplace.