Combatting Christmas queues with improved in-store mobility

By Lee Jones, Director of Sales – Grocery, QSR and Selected Accounts for Northern Europe at Ingenico, a Worldline brand 

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, in-store shopping had ceased to be a stand-alone experience, as online technology rapidly evolved to sit alongside it. This omnichannel phenomenon will only be further exaggerated, as customers are now much more adept at navigating ecommerce stores and combining the two experiences than ever before.

As retailers prepare to reopen their stores for a doubly busy December, this is especially crucial to keep in mind. 78% of customers admit to abandoning checkouts due to long queues, and as such it is critical that retailers understand the importance of providing a mobile, omnichannel experience for customers that speeds up the payments process and avoid long queues, whilst still providing the in-store familiarity they keep coming back for.

Let’s explore how retailers can improve the omnichannel experience to deliver a safer, more efficient Christmas shopping experience.

Improve in-store mobility

One great way for retailers to prevent big queues is by providing sales associates with smart connected handsets. This will enable them to better respond to sales queries and take payments anywhere in the store, thus reducing shop floor crowding. If the device is connected to a single omnichannel system, it will also allow them to identify the consumer wherever they are in the sales journey, match their insight, and provide a gateway to loyalty programmes and their benefits.

To ensure they can provide all this for their sales associates and their customers, retailers need a smart, flexible, easy-to-use device that allows store associates to combine several payment services onto one system, with rich product and customer insight.

Upgrade payment options

Offering the ability to pay quickly alongside a variety of methods to suit different customers, is a sure-fire way to speed up the process and cut the queues. There are several great technologies available today to do just this, including:

  • Instant Payments. Completed in under 10 seconds from one bank to another in real-time, instant payments are not only processed quickly, but also at any time of day. It is the ideal payment method in-store for high price goods, mitigating the risk of card transactions being declined due to monthly limits. They can be integrated into a range of checkouts, including on-the-go devices, to suit any business.
  • Scan and Pay. This mobile-based payment option enables the customer to scan a QR code relating to the product using an app. Completely erasing the need for a checkout service and queues, payments are made via a merchant app. Essentially, they walk in, pick up the item, scan it, and go.
  • MPOS and EPOS systems. Much like a cash register, MPOS systems are used to process transactions, but instead they work via a mobile point of sale. What makes this method unique is that by being able to take payments on a mobile phone, or on a tablet using an EPOS system, payments can be taken anywhere in a store, as long as the sales assistant or merchant is carrying a smart device. This can work out extremely cost effective, as it reduces the need for costly terminals.

The bottom line

By utilising in-store mobility, all these payment methods can help eradicate the need for crowds and queues. What’s more, in-store mobility further delivers that personal experience the shopper is looking for by putting the store associate back at the heart of the sales decision. A benefit that is especially important considering 88% of customers report that they are more likely to make a purchase in-store if sales associates are knowledgeable.

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