The retail industry has seen some interesting times in the past couple of years, to say the least. Pre-pandemic, the industry was dappling in omnichannel capabilities. When the pandemic hit in early 2020, after a brief shutdown and calibration period, the Retail Rebound emerged. Contactless payments, QR code technology, online ordering, and more have blossomed – but what is here to stay? In today’s blog post, explore some of the top solutions that have grown during the pandemic and which are predicted to remain in the Retail Rebound and beyond.
1. Contactless Payments
Payments are changing as we know it, and contactless payments are on the rise. In fact, according to Forbes, over 35% of consumers claim they use contactless payments for at least 75% of their retail purchases.
Contactless payments can take several forms but the most popular are mobile wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay that are available on smartphones and smart watches, and NFC credit and debit cards. These technologies allow customers to simply hold their device or card over a compatible payment terminal instead of having to use cash or swipe or insert their card. While these payment methods first gained traction as a way to avoid germs, their speed, convenience, and security make them liable to remain popular for the foreseeable future.
2. BOPIS (Buy Online, Pick Up in Store)
Buy online, pick up in store (commonly called “BOPIS”) is a prime example of a retail offering that was slowly emerging before COVID-19, but exponentially grew in popularity during the pandemic and continues to do so during the Retail Rebound.
According to research by Kibo Commerce, BOPIS orders grew over 500% by the height of the pandemic in 2020. However, while many shoppers turned to BOPIS as a way to stay safe, it’s been found that over half of them actually favor it for its convenience, meaning we can expect for it to stay around for good. Who would want to turn back the dial to more inconvenient methods of shopping?
3. Omnichannel Shopping
As the pandemic began to unfold, one thing was true for retailers: if you aren’t online yet, you need to be now. The safety and convenience offered by providing customers an omnichannel shopping experience quickly went from a “nice to have” to a “must have.” It appears shoppers continue to consider online shopping a necessity – according to GWI, as of spring 2021, 76% of consumers in the US and UK said they’re still doing more online shopping compared to before the pandemic.
BOPIS, which we mentioned above, is part of an omnichannel strategy, as is having an informative and functional website, real-time inventory management, and more. Click here to learn more about a successful omnichannel strategy.
Retail Rebound Toolbox
As businesses reopen their doors, Star is proud to offer a line of solutions and resources designed to keep consumers and employees safe and satisfied.
This one might seem like a no-brainer, but its effects may be more long-term than you initially thought. Germ avoidance is of course extremely important, especially during the peak of the pandemic. However, even as the worries of COVID-19 eventually fade, the desire to avoid touching other people’s germs is likely to stay. Things that we used to touch regularly without a second thought, like door handles, now have us feeling some hesitation. Flu season is an example of a recurring scenario in which people will likely be a lot more cautious about germs than before the pandemic.
Businesses can ease these worries by installing the right solutions. Most retailers probably already have a plexiglass sneeze guard installed at checkout counters, but something they may not have yet are antimicrobial covers. These peel-and-stick covers can be applied to door handles, checkout counters, elevator buttons, and more. With an easy application process and a lifespan of up to six months, they’re a great way to consumers’ ongoing need to stay safe and healthy.
Whether you’re ordering your meal at a restaurant or checking in to your doctor’s office, self-service kiosks are growing in popularity across several markets – and for good reason. Kiosks help minimize the risk of spreading germs via face-to-face contact, they can help with line-busting (especially during the current labor shortage), and they provide a prime opportunity for upselling and brandingThese benefits are expected to remain present during the pandemic and beyond; according to Infiniti Research Limited, during 2021-2025 the self-service kiosk market is expected to grow by $2.97bn, at a CAGR of almost 6%.
Retail Rebound: The “Here and Now” is Here to Stay
Retail has changed for good. The unprecedented pandemic brought on a slew of challenges seemingly overnight, and the solutions the market has created to adapt to those challenges are likely here to stay as they provide ongoing safety, convenience, and security to shoppers worldwide. Now is the time for retailers to assess and optimize their operations.
Always leading, and always innovating, Star is proud to offer a range of retail POS hardware solutions to accompany the ever-evolving retail market trends.
Disclaimer: NeverGerms® makes no claims regarding the safety or health of the general public or those interacting with its products. “NeverGerms®” and “Touch Less Germs®” are registered trademarks and not intended to have literal interpretation. NeverGerms products are manufactured by NeverGerms and distributed by Star Micronics. Although these products are designed to reduce microbe populations on commonly-utilized surfaces and have been tested by the manufacturer for their antimicrobial properties, Star Micronics cannot guarantee that they will eliminate all risk of germ, including virus, transfer from such surfaces. Star Micronics, as distributor, relies entirely upon claims made by manufacturer as supported by prior research. For further information, please visit www.nevergerms.com.
Heidi Orpilla is the Digital Content Specialist at Star Micronics where she creates and manages content for Star’s blog, social media, website, products, and more. Heidi has a passion for writing and has worked in the B2B marketing space for over five years. Prior to working at Star, Heidi worked at a large reseller for six years.