Digitization is transforming every area of the retail industry, from researching merchandise to the point of sale.
Over the past year, over 40% more consumers bought with their mobiles, and three quarters of shoppers will continue to buy online despite the opening up of bricks and mortar stores. As long as internet-connected systems are adequately protected against cyber threats, the greater use of technology increases efficiency and reduces human error. Consumers have embraced the convenience of digitization, accelerated by concerns over health and safety. Now more retailers are responding by offering an increasing choice of contactless channels to access production information, place mobile orders, and make contactless payments.
Mobile Transactions Improve Efficiency in Hospitality
Although the hospitality industry has traditionally been slower to adopt new technology, the increasing demand for contactless systems has forced it to change. In hotels, mobile keys and apps and give immediate access to rooms, services and information, while at the same time, the experience of hotel employees is enhanced by an increase in digital communications and shared learning. Improved efficiency is also experienced by employees and customers in restaurants. For ordering meals from takeaways, and, increasingly in restaurants, mobile order apps ensure that customers requests are fulfilled more accurately. Linked to a payment gateway, mobile ordering simplifies the process of settling the bill for both consumers and restaurant staff.
More Delivery Channels Encourage E-commerce Sales
With greater accessibility offered by digital payment methods, e-commerce sales rose by 14% last year in the US, and sales since earlier this year show that consumers are happy to continue shopping online. Retailers are looking ahead to a cashless society, and are preparing to offer more options for consumers in the future. As well as paying for goods delivered to their homes, shoppers are already using their mobiles to buy online and pick-up in-store (BOPIS), and an increasing number of retailers are offering this channel for receiving goods.
Close Monitoring Minimizes the Risk of Cyber Threats
While digitization makes the whole retail process from researching merchandise to paying for goods more efficient, it can also expose the process to security threats. BOPIS has been shown to be marginally more susceptible to fraud attempts than other delivery channels, for example. To provide a safe omni-channel customer experience, it is essential for businesses to be aware of the risks posed by increased digitization. With close monitoring of systems, the regular removal of unnecessary personal data, and, where necessary, employing dedicated experts to deal with security threats, stores and hospitality outlets can ensure that consumers are kept safe. At the same time, greater education about cybersecurity can help employees and consumers to spot data breaches promptly. As well as protecting their own information, retailers are responsible for the valuable consumer information that they hold. Legally, they must comply with data protection regulations, and strictly control access and storage of all customer details.
Digitization is transforming every area of the retail industry, from researching merchandise to the point of sale. While keeping a close eye on potential security breaches, both retailers and consumers can benefit from greater convenience, improved efficiency, and shared information.