What Does Self-Service Mean to Consumers Post-Pandemic?
If we have learned one thing from the pandemic, it is that things can change very quickly.
The pandemic and its implications, such as stay-at-home orders and physical distancing, has forced consumers to shop differently. Just a few months into the pandemic, online shopping increased significantly across many customer segments. Even now, many consumers are still concerned for health and hygiene reasons and prefer to have minimal contact with other shoppers or staff in the stores.
A recent study from EY Future Consumer Index shows that 80% of consumers rapidly changed how they shop. During the last 18 months, more than 60% percent of consumers are shopping less in stores and more online. More than 43% of consumers are shopping more often online for products they would have previously bought in stores. This shift occurred in the heart of the pandemic when many retailers were closed for business and online shopping was one of the only channels available. As a byproduct of this change in behavior, BOPIS (buy online pick up in-store) and BOSS (buy online and ship to store) and Curbside Pickup options have gained increasing popularity.
Consumers have returned to shopping in physical retail stores during the pandemic. However, their in-person shopping behaviors, now turned to preferences, have changed immensely. Online shopping during the pandemic have evolved the way they shop. At the beginning, hygiene and safety measures were major concerns. Now, with more vaccine rollouts and strict guidelines on physical distancing and hygiene standards, most of the shoppers feel safe to go back to stores and shop in-person. However, the convenience of shopping on their computers and smartphones has changed their preferences. This change of behavior started as a response to concerns about safety and some of these behavior changes are now becoming standard minimum expectations for consumers. Understanding and responding to these new behaviors is a vital key for retailers to stay competitive. Retailers will need to evaluate how they service their customer in both online and physical stores and find opportunities to innovate and fill gaps.
When it comes to creating a comfortable experience for customers in the store, safety and convenience is essential! In a recent study by Bloomberg, they report that 87% of shoppers prefer to shop in stores with touchless or robust self-checkout options. However, at the same time, they would like to know that an attendant is available nearby to assist them if they need help. Self-service checkout counters provide customers with all these advantages, and since they have been around for a while in some types of retailers (like grocery stores and gas stations, etc.), most customers are quite used to this experience.
Self-serving kiosks allow more customers to be served in a shorter time. Therefore, customers do not have to wait in long queues to check out and can save time using self-checkout machines. On the other hand, self-checkout ensures less personal interaction with employees or other shoppers. Therefore, customers can check out without interacting with employees during the transaction.
How Can We Help?
Accuvia Software Group quickly adapted to the demands in the marketplace by offering a self-service solution for specialty and discount retailers. Accuvia is working with Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions to provide an innovative self-service solution based upon their Pro-X Hybrid Kiosk hardware platform. This allows retailers to offer their customers a safe and convenient experience in their physical stores.
Combined with the Pro-X Hybrid Kiosk, attendants can quickly assist shoppers without leaving their station. To switch user interaction, the cashier only needs to rotate the kiosk base 180 degrees clockwise. Once assistance is provided, the cashier can swivel the kiosk back in place so the shopper can complete the transaction. Using this solution, retailers can deliver a convenient checkout experience for shoppers.
VIA|store is an advanced, feature-rich Windows-based POS platform that provides a comprehensive set of functions for the general retail environment. Our advanced solution architecture gives retailers an option for cloud, on-premises, or a hybrid environment for rapid deployment to their stores with very low infrastructure and overhead requirements.
Visit us in New York at NRF 2022
Accuvia Software Group will be exhibiting at the NRF show in New York in January in Booth 6562 at the Javits Convention Center. We will be demonstrating a comprehensive solution for retailers that including our POS, Central Office and Loyalty solutions along with a number of solutions from our partners. Together we make a powerful team ready to bring the store of the future to our retail clients today.