April 11, 2019
Digital Innovations powered by technology have revolutionized the world we live in. Technology has driven innumerable opportunities with endless resources that have transformed businesses. With the emergence of Industry4.0, industries are harnessing the power of digitization to improve their overall efficiency, operations, and revenue. One such forward-looking sector is Retail.
As the digital and in-store experiences blur and become more consistent, digital innovations are opening exciting new possibilities for retailers. Point of Sale systems or POS has changed the face of the retail sector making purchasing and maintaining the count of products more accessible. The emergence of digital/mobile POS has had a significant impact on enriching customer satisfaction and shopping experience.
Technologies such as video and image recognition, artificial intelligence, blockchain, and IoT have transformed the traditional POS systems to align according to the needs of today’s retail businesses and customers.
Here are some of the trends in Point-of-sale system for the retail market:
Retailers are investing in solutions centered around device-to-cloud IoT solutions, secure and reliable gateways, intelligent embedded modules inside PoS and comprehensive cloud and managed connectivity services.
E.g., Amazon’s Dash Buttons facilitate purchasing of everyday products by the press of a button. Amazon has tied up with over 200 partners so that they sell their products via these dash buttons which serve as a digital PoS for the users.
Beacon technology allows retailer-owned mobile apps to listen for signals from nearby beacons using Bluetooth technology. Thus, they deliver hyper-contextualized content to users based on their location with check-out features. These check out features have revolutionized PoS with the convenience of in-store shopping and mobile checkout.
E.g., Macy’s in association with Shopkick, rolled out retail’s largest beacon installation in its stores nationwide to install 4,000 shopBeacons. As shoppers entered Macy’s, they received push notifications on their smartphones to open their Macy’s apps to receive promotions, deals, and discounts.
Chatbots are automated, intelligent assistants that drive the conversation with the user on the digital platform. They begin these interactions with the user by asking and answering simple questions. With Natural Language Processing powered by AI and ML algorithms, they can learn and can also handle complex tasks such as providing product recommendations to the user and facilitating payments.
E.g., H&M bot in their Kik messaging app enables customers to create their style theme to provide personalized recommendations to the customer. The bots also send abandoned cart notifications to facilitate in-app purchasing.
Augmented Reality can help retailers collect more information about customers which when used in conjunction with an efficient POS system, can help deliver personalized loyalty programs and rewards.
Ikea’s “IKEA Palace”-a mobile app available on the App Store and powered by AR enables the customers to virtually place the furniture in their home setting and then decide if they would like to purchase it. The virtual furniture is resizable to fit any corner of the room.
Voice assistants such as Alexa, Cortana, Google Assistant, and Siri have changed the way people interact with their devices. Retailers are adopting this technology for enhancing the customer experience through voice ordering.
Customers can ask Google Home and Alexa to add products to their online shopping cart. The apps search for the customer’s preferred brand and pack size before adding it to the online shopping basket, select a delivery slot, and check out the order.
E.g., Starbucks rolled out voice recognition ordering through mobile order-and-pay technology by integrating with Samsung’s AI chatbot, Bixby. Customers use their phone to order a drink that suits their taste.
POS systems driven by image recognition technology are being increasingly adopted by many players in the retail sector where the customers don’t have to pay while they check out in a retail store physically.
E.g.: Amazon’s cashier-less store, Amazon Go, uses cameras and sensors on shelves, as well as a computer vision system, to scan the items being purchased by a customer and automatically charge them to the shopper’s Amazon account.
A new Point-of-sale (POS) app designed by ZAP allows merchants to accept transactions on the Lightning Network independently. The Lightning Network is a technology that adds another layer to Bitcoin’s blockchain and enables users to create payment channels between any two parties on that extra layer.
Zap’s new PoS was recently tested at a Chicago cocktail lounge. The lounge admin uploaded the menu onto the mobile app and allowed customers to use a QR code for tipping.