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In the state of COVID-19, there is a large focus towards halting the spread of the virus, and this is practiced across several verticals, including retail. Just think of a bustling retail shop before talk of this pandemic was mentioned, there were always crowded aisles and long queue lines waiting to check out their transactions, bumping into a friend to chat during the length of their grocery trip. You won’t see that nowadays. But fear not, unattended retail still progresses forward with initiatives to keep retail in business, while also stopping the dangerous spread of this global pandemic.
Where are Kiosks Going?
Unattended checkout no longer just refers to helping yourself to pick from your favorite snack selection in your office’s vending machine. Unattended retail experiences have unlocked a brand-new world of opportunity. Self-service kiosks and smart, innovative machines are ‘working together’ to result in a frictionless experience for everyone who is involved. Distanced procedures like these open up the door for contactless payments, grocery pickup, buy now pay later (BNPL), and so many other opportunities to continue safely shopping. The vending landscape is definitely more technologically advanced, as you venture into a more interactive and personalized realm.
It’s been found that many younger folk, Generation Z to be exact, are less likely to carry cash on hand at all times. This generation has been described as highly connected, and the most diverse and inclusive generation in history, sticking to digital experiences including their banking activities. Even though the younger demographic prefers to stick to digital and virtual payment processing interactions, cash it still a fan-favorite payment method amongst other demographic groups, therefore it’s unlikely cash won’t stick around for awhile longer.
According to research calculated by the National Retail Federation and Forrester, the usage of mobile payments and contactless cards has significantly increased during the pandemic. Apparently 39% of consumers were motivated to add contactless to their payment options, because of how rapidly COVID-19 was spread in public places. With this issue being so present, vending has offered a huge outlet for shoppers. Vending solutions vary per vendor, but they absolutely can offer mobile payments, cashless interactions, remote monitoring and pricing, real-time reporting of inventory stats, and so much more. With so much variety in vending machines and devices, retailers can ensure that shoppers are fulfilled while also remaining safe from the spread of the virus coming from in-person contact.
Convenience for Everyone
Unattended payment options aren’t just reserved for consumers, for the installation of such machines can prove to be a great benefit for retailers, increasing revenues up by 25%. Online payments have become simplified, with only one click standing in between you and your purchase, inspired by this flow, in-store payments are swiftly following suit. With this being said, self-service provide shoppers with a restored sense of independence, knowing that they can finalize their transaction and go about their day without requiring the assistance of a bagger or cashier.
Long before the pandemic times, global nations were regularly introduced to the world of micro-markets and what they have to offer to the retail industry. A micro-market, defined, is a self-serve kiosk where people can purchase (sometimes fresh) food and beverages from. This growing trend offers access to a convenience store model, while perhaps not even existing in a larger retail environment. These spaces are typically manned by a kiosk for the shopper to process their transaction individually, instilling the buyer with their own freedoms. Flash-forward and it’s safe to say that these micro-markets environments are definitely thriving and surviving the pandemic.
As we’re diving into the world of more frictionless payment procedures, the customer demand for convenience greatly influences trends found in the retail vertical market. Merchants should begin to adopt opportunities in order to keep customers coming back. Whether it’s unattended retail checkout counters, mobile payments, or removing cash entirely the future of retail is starting to evolve for everyone. If you’re interested in learning more about how retail is evolving as venture further into 2021, be sure to head over to our TEConnect Podcast page to check out Episode 7: Kiosk Trends with Star Micronics’ Augusto Echecopar where the guys dive deeper into how unattended installations are impacting the retail environment, now, then, and in the future.