Consumers might think this year flew by, but it felt even faster for retailers. We’re through the busiest shopping time of the year – the holiday shopping season – and as with most years before it, retail sales grew again year over year. While exhausted retailers might want the 2020 holiday shopping season to be the last thing on their minds right now, there is actually no better time than the present to consider how technologies will impact your in-store experience in the year ahead.
Consumers are increasing their in-store purchases every year, exposing merchants to additional opportunities to provide them with great shopping experiences. Retailers should take advantage of this opportunity and start preparing for next year’s holiday season now. Here a few things businesses should keep in mind while building their retail strategy for 2020 and beyond:
Alternative Payments – Consumers are looking for more and more freedom to pay however they’d like – from contactless rings to mobile wallets. In the next few years, adoption of wearables and other contactless payment methods is expected to increase. To keep up with this rising demand and meet customer preferences, merchants must accept as many methods of payments as possible. This includes accepting P2P payments via apps, such as Venmo and Zelle.
Management Solutions – Retailers are battling to stand out from one another by offering their customers unique, innovative experiences. They are doing so by employing technologies, such as mobile POS, self-serving kiosks, in-lane checkout, etc. Managing all of these solutions can be challenging, especially during the busy holiday season. To ease the complications of juggling multiple technologies, retailers should use an estate management system. This allows merchants to monitor and manage all payment solutions, OS, applications, security keys and more. It also provides centralized remote terminal management customized to specific business needs.
PCI Compliance – Many merchants are still leveraging old payments technology, while new solutions have been on the market since 2017. As retail breaches unfortunately continue to grow in volume and complexity, payment security should be a top focus for retailers. Cybercriminals are becoming smarter and learning more sophisticated ways to break through data boundaries. To combat attacks and protect brands and customers, payment solutions must be integrated with the latest PCI standards. For 2020, retailers should be confident that their customers’ data is safe by upgrading solutions to be compliant – even if it entails upgrading payment infrastructure.
Learn from Past Mistakes – The common motto we all learned growing up. Learning from past mistakes will help prevent the same issues in the future. Similarly, in retail, businesses must prepare for obstacles at all levels, especially when testing new shopping experiences. When problems arise that cause too much friction towards the customer experience, such as long checkout lines, retailers pose the risk of losing the customer altogether. Learning from these instances will help retailers prepare for 2020 and beyond with a refined strategy that accounts for similar mistakes in the future.
The holiday season always comes faster than we expect and brings along new challenges every year. When planning for operations, strategies, technology and other business aspects a year in advance, it gives retailers the opportunity to focus on a positive shopping experience for its customers.
-Thomas Luke, Ingenico Group