4 things we learnt about the future of retail at EuroCIS 2022
The future. It’s full of potential, possibilities and promise. The future is always unknown yet, every now and then, the impenetrable mist that shrouds the yet-to-come is pierced as the future is made real.
This is exactly what happened at this year’s EuroCIS 2022 trade fair. Back with a bang after a two year absence, “tomorrow is the new today” was the strapline for the fair which brought together some of the biggest global players in the retail industry to pioneer new ideas and new technology.
We exhibited across the three days in Dusseldorf with one of our hardware partners, Zebra Technologies, and here’s what we learnt about the future of retail:
1. Flexibility is everything
Retail hardware flexibility allows you to run your stores on your terms.
Picture a traditional store and the POS hardware you’d find in it. You’ve more than likely got a PC, a payment terminal, a cash drawer, a card reader, a label printer, and a scanner. It’s a lot of hardware just to make a sale.
What happens when your store gets busier and you’ve got more customers to serve? You need more hardware. Another PC, payment terminal, cash drawer, card reader, label printer, and scanner. Not only is it expensive and time consuming to set up, it can take up a huge amount of space in your store.
It’s not fast to implement, not easy to scale, nor cost effective or flexible.
Take a step back, look at it objectively, and it’s easy to see this kind of set-up will limit you, hold you back, and stop you turning your vision of success into a reality.
It’s for these exact reasons you need the kind of hardware flexibility that’s enabled by the next generation of Point of Sale software. With a flexible set-up there’s no limits on what you can do with your stores; it’s retail done your way on your terms.
2. Invest in the best
Investing in market-leading, next-gen tech is a no-brainer for consumer centric retail.
Everything starts with changing customer expectations. The way we shop is constantly evolving. It’s your job to keep pace with this evolution and ensure your customers get what they want every single time they interact with you.
And tech is your best friend for making this a reality.
But it takes time for an organization to adapt. It’s, therefore, crucial that you build a retail ecosystem that’s as agile as possible and sets the right foundations in the organization to be able to meet new and emerging ways of shopping.
Software solutions are your building blocks. Your mindset must be to use these building blocks to enable a set of capabilities that form the experiences buyers want.
Customer journeys are no longer linear and, by managing these capabilities and solutions, you enable your customer to create their own journey – you don’t even have to map it out for them.
Your IT department has to control your building blocks and create your own retail ecosystem. This means that you must find best-of-breed solutions you can use to create the best setup for your business; POS, ERP, Ecom, PIM, Payments and so on. All of these blocks are built with modern, cloud-native technology, are API first and easy to integrate to fit with the others.
The right blocks should not only be easy to integrate and implement – they should also be easy to replace.
Rethinking your approach to software and changing your mindset brings with it a host of benefits for your business, your store associates and your customers.
Download our free ebook on how to future-proof your store operations and CX to find out more >>>
3. Unify or die
As far as shoppers are concerned, there’s no difference between your eComm store, your pop-up or your showcase bricks-and-mortar store. For your customers, they are all the same – and they should be for you.
Your physical stores have to integrate seamlessly with each other and with all your online sales channels. This gives your customers both convenience and choice. It also makes them happy because you make life simple for them.
It’s hard – if not impossible – to make great omnichannel (and ultimately unified commerce) a reality with older, out-dated technology.
Your customers want all prices, stock levels, orders, and the information you hold on them to be unified. They want to be able to return eComm goods in store and, if they want an item that isn’t in stock when they visit a store, they expect to still be able to purchase it there and then, and have it delivered to their home (or an address of their choosing.)
This requires all your systems to work together in harmony – and the best way of achieving this is through a Unified Commerce Platform which connects to all your systems in real-time.
Alongside this, with the ability to sell and fulfill everything from anywhere, you’ll never miss a sale and you’ll be able to give your customers what they want, when they want it.
4. Mobile makes you smile
Think of the great duos over the years; whether it’s Bonnie and Clyde, Mario and Luigi, Starskey and Hutch, or any duo in between, it’s hard to think of one without the other.
The same goes for mobility and the future of retail. If you want to succeed now, and into the future, you have to be mobile.
Tablets or iPads can be used as stationary devices but traditional stationary hardware can’t be used as a mobile device. With a point of sale that’s mobile first, you increase your hardware flexibility and you unlock the full power and potential of mobility.
Mobile hardware removes the “counter-barrier” between sales associates and customers making the shopping experience more personalized. Store associates have the flexibility to serve customers anywhere in or even outside the store. With the help of contactless payments, digital receipts and omnichannel fulfillment options associates can quickly adapt to social distancing and offer services like curbside pickup.
Mobility also makes it possible for store associates to use the same device for several different tasks and you can easily move hardware to other stores when, for example, you’re stocktaking or running local sales.
EuroCIS 2022 reaffirmed what we’ve been saying for a number of years.
Building your retail IT architecture on your terms gives you freedom, flexibility and more choice than you’ve ever had before. It empowers you to create a retail ecosystem that’s perfect for your business, your employees and your customers.
When you have this mindset, you’ll be able to react and respond instantly to changing consumer behavior and to any external events which might impact the way you run your business.
This is retail on your terms, the way you want it.
Download our latest ebook and discover how to future-proof your store operations and CX with hardware flexibility enabled by next-gen POS.