In this article, we talk about how contactless technology can be used in the retail industry, and the various aspects of the technology that a retailer can integrate into their consumer’s shopping experience.

It goes without saying that the pandemic has irreversibly altered consumer behaviour. If there is a silver lining to this alteration, it is that it has transformed “contactless” into an essential aspect of the retail industry. With states reopening, retail stores are now looking at means to fulfil consumer expectations to prepare for the post-crisis shopping experience. Even before the outbreak, retailers were looking into integrating the contactless model; but with the need now more than ever, it is turning into a buzzword in the retail vernacular.

Big retail-based businesses like WalmartKohlsShowfields, have included the contactless feature a part of their customer experience. Even Shopify added services like their curbside pickup tool that was originally scheduled to roll out in 2021. This safe-word is now a way for retailers to rise during these tough times, and it is evident why.

We at Team at Luxeveda are venturing into helping brands include contactless in their user experience. Thus, we have put together a few important elements of contactless that you can consider as a retailer.

#1 Contactless Payment

On hearing the term ‘contactless’ the first idea we get is that of contactless payment. Customers are rapidly veering into the cashless payment method. Credit cards are good alternatives, but they also require you to physically involve yourself, raising the concern of the possible spread of the virus. This has led customers gravitating towards contactless payment such as e-wallets (Apple Pay, Google Pay, Revolut.) Despite this, half of all retailers do not accept contactless payments, even though the “touch-and-go” spending is expected to increase by over 300 per cent in the next four years. Payment alternatives make your customers have a safer shopping experience. It is time to connect with your merchant service provider about contactless payment solutions available for your business.

#2 Contactless Shopping

Contactless enables the shopping experience to be seamless, efficient and convenient. Customers scan a QR code to enter the store, select products and then pay using their e-wallets. The removal of items from the shelves is detected through sensors. Once the item has been removed, it is linked to the shopper’s unique ID on an application server to prevent theft. For example. Zara introduced self-checkout stations at their latest outlet in Madrid and Amazon has been testing the Amazon Go store where checkout is completely avoidable. Rebecca Minkoff’s flagship store in New York lets customers buy products from $200 handbags to $1,500 jackets on their own, without having to deal with a sales associate. The bottom line is, these measures will help both shoppers and employees feel more comfortable.

#3 Curbside Pick-Up

As a result of COVID-19, curbside pick-up is taking on interesting new shapes and forms. Transactionally, curbside pickup is much like e-commerce. The differentiating feature is that the delivery location is usually the retail store itself, versus one’s own address. On the safety side, there are many positives. Consumers can order goods via electronic devices, voice assistants, or text messaging platforms. And then pick it up as per their convenience. It is also a cheaper alternative to e-commerce and allows retailers to sweep out excess inventory.

#4 Checkout-Free Retail

U.S. consumers spend an average of 118 hours waiting in line every year! Check out-free retail has the potential to reduce these hours drastically. Such a system integrates the intended safety aspect of mobile payment to the regular check-out system. It is an easy, cost-effective technique for retailers to deploy and improve the in-store experience. A checkout-free trial can be carried out in two ways:

  1. Scan-and-Go mobile technology: Here, the customer scans their products with their mobile phones on the retailer’s mobile app, bag the products and then pays at the exit electronically through the in-app QR code.
  2. AI Computer Vision (aka AICV): While similar to scan-and-go, this technology allows the customer to scan an app while entering the store, take the required goods and then leave at their time. In-store cameras and weight sensors on the shelves identify the products and consumer movement. At the exit, they are charged. Similar to getting out of an Uber or Lyft.

While the pandemic will not be around forever, we are certain that contactless shopping is here to stay. Every retailer must decide for themselves what works best. It must be in a manner that is feasible for both themselves and the consumer so that neither ends up pushed too far out of their comfort zones. The whole situation is left open to wide interpretation, which is why it is crucial to set clear definitions for your business. This foundation is the roadmap for a future that is flexible, sustainable and a much safer shopping world. Do your customers (and your business) a favour. Start investing in technologies and systems that’ll let you serve shoppers in a safe yet effective manner.

Are you looking for contactless solutions for your business? We at Luxeveda can help! Reach out to us on our website or connect with us on LinkedIn. You can also fill out this short form so we can help you better. We would love to speak with you.

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