Digital buying behaviors that consumers adopted more widely in 2020, like curbside, self-service, delivery and more will continue to be popular in 2021. Customers increasingly expect flexibility, safety, and convenience as part of their experiences, and to keep up, businesses will need a blend of pre-pandemic experiences and pandemic-informed options. So as operators start to reopen and increase capacity inside of their physical locations, how can businesses meet customers’ expectations and deliver great experiences in 2021 and beyond?
Understand what your customers and guests want
After over a year of staying home, many people are looking forward to resuming parts of normal life. Consumers miss the experience of shopping in their favorite stores and enjoying restaurants and bars. And as they look to spend time outside their homes, they cite safety as the most important factor that they consider before visiting a store, with convenience as a close second. But many shoppers have different ideas of what constitutes a good experience and what it means to feel safe. Whether it’s offering more contactless payment options, enhancing delivery and curbside options, or optimizing digital ordering, customers need to see and understand that businesses are prioritizing their safety and hygiene concerns: 62% of surveyed customers said they would stop dining at a restaurant that isn’t taking health and safety seriously.
Reimagine operations and systems
From ghost kitchens to curbside delivery, and from store-based fulfillment to online orders, the role of physical restaurant and retail space is going to continue to shift. As apparel and specialty stores are slowly returning to pre-pandemic norms and restaurants’ headcounts slowly start to creep up, operations and the systems that support them will have to change too. Employees and consumers expect a seamless experience with as little contact and friction as possible, and their desire for these experiences isn’t slowing down any time soon. 80% of surveyed apparel and specialty shoppers expect to increase use of curbside and buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) over the next six months, and delivery-based restaurant sales are expected to increase by more than 20% over the next four years. Customers want to use digital capabilities and businesses are responding: 72% of restaurants expect to enable self-service options for guests this year.
Invest in future-ready solutions
Technology that can adapt quickly has become the new standard and to succeed in the future, businesses also need technology that can scale. To do this, retailers and restaurants must start with a point-of-sale platform that extends retail or restaurant experiences, like kiosk checkout, host stand or takeout pickup. It should be durable enough to withstand the wear and tear that comes with tough retail and restaurant environments, flexible enough to handle new payment and shopping methods over time and help deliver a consistent customer experience across all channels.
We understand the change going on in retail and how shoppers’ behaviors and expectations are driving a need for retail to create new, more frictionless experiences, and with it an evaluation of their technology needs. Toshiba POS Platforms deliver reliable, durable, and flexible solutions that enable retailers to satisfy their customers’ expectations and deliver the shopping experience they want no matter what might be.