A few years ago, a 24-hour shop opened in Sweden with no staff. All actions, including opening the front door, are performed by customers using a mobile application. The trade as we know it is changing irrevocably. The introduction of many new technologies is associated with the spread of innovative methods of payment (contactless and mobile payments) and credit (online-POS). Recently, POS-terminals have been introduced, which scan the buyer’s face when entering a PIN-code, which will minimize fraud with bank cards. Only lazy people have not heard about Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and similar payment systems today.
There are several promising trends in this area:
- introduction of self-service cash registers;
- introduction of electronic price lists;
- release of own mobile applications – kind of shopping navigators that allow, among other things, using a smartphone instead of discount maps;
- using big data to personalize offers;
- purchases based on consumer behavior analysis.
iBeacon technology is widely used in many countries. What is it? We are talking about beacons that can detect a user’s smartphone within a radius of 10-30 meters and show him the relevant message: promotions, discounts, information about products. People are focused on their smartphones and therefore traditional advertising channels are not effective. A simple example: you walk through a shopping mall, you get a message that in a shop around the corner there is a discount on shoes of your size.
The message can be displayed at a certain point: when, for example, the customer leaves the mall. Using iBeacon allows you to analyze your audience, track how customers are moving through the mall, or how long they’ve been at the mall. You can make an individual offer to each customer or narrow the audience down to what you need. Let’s say you invite fitness club customers to the sportswear store.
The tools used by large businesses are not suitable for owners of small retail outlets. In this segment are actively developing:
- technologies in acquiring, internet payments, loyalty programs, CRM and accounting. Mobile solutions for small businesses in retail is a fast-growing market, American mobile acquiring solution developer Square entered the IPO at the end of 2015 and was estimated at $2.9 billion.
- More and more retailers are using online services for accounting, such as https://precoro.com/to/po-purchase-order.
Such services are gaining popularity for several reasons:
- Data on all sales in all retail outlets at any time is available to the business owner, and lists of stores, suppliers, customers, employees, goods and services – always at hand.
- They do not require setup or training.
- They are universal. It was thought that keeping records in mobile applications was appropriate for outlets with a small range, but experience shows that even tire stores with tens of thousands of products successfully use such solutions.
- Sometimes functionality includes the scanner of barcodes, possibility of preparation and the press of price lists, system of discounts for clients.
All goes to the fact that the sales accounting service will become something like a virtual assistant. By analyzing the purchase history, revenue, profit, number of sales and average check, it will give advice to the owners of retail outlets about the need to make a purchase or that one seller sells much more than another. An advice that is always relevant: to be competent in choosing partners. It concerns everything: from suppliers of goods to developers of the accounting program. Partners interested in your success is your profit today, tomorrow and always.