Over the course of 2020/2021, retailers have gone through furious and exceptionally fast transformations. We have seen well established brands crumble and fall, while more agile players moved swiftly into their space. Change in consumer behaviour and in the way businesses present, sell, and deliver products is causing lightning fast change in retail.
Physical stores have been massively impacted by the digitally-powered trends of recent years and the accelerated growth in online sales as a result of Covid-19 has further thrown into question the future role of bricks and mortar outlets within the retail landscape.
Despite some of the more apocalyptic predictions of the demise of stores at the hands of online, the reality is that physical premises are likely to continue to play an outsized role for the foreseeable future. Within Europe they are forecast to still account for 65% of total retail sales by 2030, according to Bernstein Research.
With the store set to prevail in the multi-channel mix it is paramount retailers use these assets more intelligently within the customer journey and recognise the necessity to drive a rich engagement with shoppers once again within their physical environments.
Fundamental to this is the Point-of-Sale (POS) that is no longer a stand-alone fixed till space. It is instead a blend of mobile, self-checkout (SCO) and traditional – a blend of the physical and digital. The POS is also no longer just about a payment transaction, it’s a hub that sits at the heart of the business.
To get to this point the checkout has been undergoing something of a transformation. The adoption of low/no touch payments in the form of mobile wallets and contactless accelerated swiftly during Covid-19. The contactless payment market is set to more than double in size in the next five years, according to estimates by Valuates Reports.
Mobile has also continued to have a major impact with POS now being run on mobile devices including tablets and smartphones. Employees are increasingly able to use the mobile POS to look up information, scan items, close transactions, accept payments, and print receipts wherever the customers are located within the store.
The ease with which mobile technology has enabled the POS to be moved into the hands of consumers has led to the development of Scan-and-go solutions. Shoppers download a scan and go app onto their phone and self-serve in the shop using their personal device – or a dedicated handset supplied by the retailer – to scan items as they are added to their shopping baskets.