Even though most retailers staff up for the holiday shopping season, we’ve all suffered frustrating shopping experiences where lines are long, wait times test our patience, items are out of stock and we leave more annoyed than joyful. It doesn’t have to be this way. With the right technology, lines can move faster, sales lost to long wait times can be saved and customers can have positive shopping experiences.
Go mobile with POS and payments
Often, despite having more staff on hand during peak seasonal shopping, retailers are limited by the number of POS terminals they have in-store. To address this shortcoming and keep lines to a minimum, many retailers have turned to mobile POS and payment solutions. By using a tablet or similar mobile device along with integrated mobile payments, store associates can set up additional checkout lines or even handle checkout throughout the store floor.
Make sure you do a thorough wireless network assessment before the holiday season to ensure the mobile checkout solution works anywhere in the store. You don’t want to further frustrate customers and store employees with a solution that doesn’t always work as expected.
Speed up EMV
Most customers don’t understand why the EMV migration of 2015 took place. They only know that they have cards with chips and, in most cases, using those chip cards takes a little longer. Those longer processing times can add up in a seasonal setting, creating longer lines and poor shopping experiences for customers.
All the major card brands have addressed the speed of EMV by unveiling new software that optimizes the transaction process. For Visa, it’s called Quick Chip. Mastercard’s is called M/Chip Fast. In most cases, you can achieve this speed increase with a simple update to the EMV payment terminal. Ask your payment partner about this simple update that can have a positive impact on the checkout experience.
Enable and educate on NFC and mobile wallets
Mobile wallet and NFC payments can speed up checkout times since customers don’t have to fumble with their wallet or purse to use a physical card. Secure payments can be made with the tap of the phone. With terminal upgrades that addressed EMV, many merchants also gained the ability to accept these payments. However, not all retailers have it turned on or are aware. Make sure retailers have NFC payments enabled and signage in place to educate customers about this option.
Move toward omnichannel
Rolling out a full omnichannel solution for this shopping season isn’t realistic, but retailers can adopt some key characteristics that will save time. For instance, giving customers the ability to order products online and pick up in-store can reduce lines and improve the shopping experience. Additionally, make sure your retailers have good inventory management in place to ensure out-of-stocks are limited.
All said, these changes can have a significant impact on shopping experiences this holiday season. Talk to your retailers today to prepare in advance. For more information or other ideas to streamline retail, contact Ingram Micro’s Daryl Schuster.