Can Self-Service Kiosks Offer Support In Today’s Retail Conditions?
From the Frank Mayer blog Oct2020
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began dominating headlines earlier this year, retailers and brands have been forced to demonstrate agility when meeting new customer expectations. More than ever, the transformed consumer now counts on operational supply chains, accessibility, and arguably most important, enhanced safety standards.
While retail stores strategize short-term goals to meet health regulations, maintain stocked shelves, and keep doors open, many are also considering the impact a changed customer mindset will have on today’s brick-and-mortar shopping.
As is often the case, a solution lies with technology. While more shoppers return to stores, retail self-service kiosks offer the safe contactless experience and endless aisle options they now seek.
The Retail Elephant in the Room
Before we dive into how self-service kiosks can assist retail, though, it’s important to address the more pressing concern about the industry first. Can it bounce back?
There’s no shortage of literature on which retailers will withstand the economic downturn and which will regrettably succumb. However, a consistent theme throughout much of the discussion is that the pandemic hit the gas pedal for most. If a store or brand was already slow to adopt a multichannel approach, the last few months only magnified the issues. But if a big-name retailer had been in the midst of strategizing their customer experience plans with processes like Buy Online, Pickup In-Store (BOPIS) amongst others, they learned the importance of rolling them out quickly and staying nimble.
Fortunately, recent consumer research has some promising predictions for retail as a whole.
In the study “September 2020 Shopper Sentiments,” Mood Media surveyed 8,000 shoppers about their outlook on shopping. Some key takeaways included:
- 67 percent of global consumers say they’ve already returned to non-essential retail stores
- 80 percent feel reassured by safety measures retailers have put into place
- More than half surveyed expected their shopping habits to return to normal by next summer
The stores that make it through this rough period will be the ones that come out better positioned to address the needs of our omnichannel world while still fulfilling the desire for brick-and-mortar experiences. And along the way, self-service technology will be an integral strategy to help retailers offer both.
Interactive Kiosks Promote Customer and Employee Safety
According to Incisiv’s 2020 Shopper Study “The New Store Shopper in High-Touch Retail,” 96 percent of shoppers interviewed this summer say they are very unlikely to seek in-store conversations with store associates over the next 6 months.
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