Let’s face it. 2020 has not really been what we thought it would. Businesses across the world took a toll on the lockdowns and impending social distancing. While several businesses moved online and operated fully via remote working, several brick-and-mortar businesses had to completely shut down for a couple of months. These mainly included restaurants and retail. According to a study, This resulted in a jump in online sales and in the UK alone, online sales saw a jump of around 32% and 126% rise in the USA.
Gradually, the retail businesses are opening up and although the fear persists among the shoppers, the shoppers are assured to return. The same study suggests that in India, China and several other large markets, shoppers will go back to stores for luxury purchases as soon as retail opens us.
Retailers are making the right use of technology to open during COVID-19 and make up for the huge loss the entire industry suffered, around USD 2.1 trillion globally. From supermarkets to pharmacies, luxury stores to clothing, making use of mobile technology seems to be the only way forward to encourage in-store buying.
In this article, let us discuss how retailers are deploying mobile technologies to stay functional during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Facial recognition and thermal scanning
In most countries, retailers that are opening up have an added responsibility of maintaining stringent records of every customer that visited the store. The visitors have to also get their temperatures checked and records have to be maintained to ensure that contact tracing is possible in case of an outbreak. With facial recognition technology, retailers can quickly note down the details of the buyer, also scan the temperature and maintain it seamlessly in an app.
Furthermore, as these precautions become a norm for the future, the same database can be used to create customer profiles and sharing loyalty programs, discounts and offers can become easier.
Mobile POS for product display and digital signage
The retailers although opening up aren’t mostly allowed to operate at full staff capacity. Naturally, the staff that helps the customers to find the right product or the right size for example is overworked. Installing mobile-based POS that displays the product inventory on a large screen can serve as a self-service point for customers. Customers can glance through the inventory, locate the product in the store and help themselves.
Social distancing is imperative especially when confined in closed spaces like a store. Beacon technology can be incremental in achieving this. The customer can activate the store app on their phone and the app maps the path as the customer moves from one aisle to another. This can help every customer with beacon technology to understand where customers are already present and they can maintain a safe distance. The same technology can help customers pull up offers and discounts at the product they are looking at.
To eliminate physical contacts between buyers and sellers in a retail store, mobile scanning can be monumentally helpful. Using this technology, the shoppers can simply scan the product they add to their cart and pay virtually and simply walk out of the store without coming in contact with any of the store employees.
Mobile point of sales are rapidly gaining momentum and are a great way to display your product, as mentioned above. But the same can be used as a self-pay checkout counter for customers that don’t want to be bothered with mobile scanning. Self-payment POS can be installed at the exit points of the stores and customers can scan their items, swipe the card, complete the payment and collect the bill quickly, without zero physical contact with any store employees.
Predicting normalcy and the end of the virus is beyond the scope of experts as of now. The world slowly is gaining traction and moving back to normalcy but with revamped ways of operation. To beat the modern challenges of modern times, modern technology seems the only answer and mobile technology is just that.
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Renuka Shahane is a Sr. Content Writer at Scalefusion. An engineering graduate, an Apple junkie and an avid reader, she has a 5+ years of experience in content creation, content strategy and PR for technology and web based startups.
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