“Contactless,” “low-contact,” “touchless” – these are the dominant words floating around the retail industry as businesses reopen while keeping health and safety considerations for customers and employees top of mind. Stores need to employ an omnichannel retail strategy with efficient fulfillment experiences that cater to their customers’ shopping behaviors.
Fortunately, the tools needed to make these changes are readily accessible today.
The need for merchants to adapt to modern consumers isn’t a new realization, but the impact of COVID-19 has accelerated the inevitable need to evolve. Experts state that our new retail environments will result in long-lasting behavioral changes in shoppers, and though today’s shoppers still want that same convenience and accessibility, they’re also looking for an added layer of safety.
Enter: Contactless retail.
What’s Included in a Contactless Omnichannel Retail Strategy?
At its core, omnichannel retail is how brands seamlessly engage with customers by merging physical and digital channels. Brands then use this melded experience to create the most personalized and engaging shopping environment.
These consistent and relevant interactions foster a mutually beneficial relationship for customers and retailers, as 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience.
The most successful retailers are the ones who apply an omnichannel retail strategy and offer the most convenient choices for their customers. As you identify how to adapt, any of the examples below can be used in tandem or individually.
Curbside pickup, also commonly referred to as BOPAC (Buy Online, Pick Up At Curbside), has become one of the more popular ways retailers have transformed their brick-and-mortar locations into fulfillment hubs. While grocers paved the first wave of curbside fulfillment, countless retailers are now following with a similar option.
By allowing customers to place orders ahead of time, employees are able to prepackage the order. When the shopper arrives at the physical store location, an employee brings the order to their car.
While some businesses have reopened with a manual (over the phone) curbside pickup process, the most efficient and scalable way to enact BOPAC is through implementing a digital, online process.
When a solution like curbside pickup is offered digitally, retailers are able to display their inventory availability, provide real-time SMS order status updates, forecast more accurate inventory projections, and create a safer, low-contact solution for their employees and customers, thus strengthening customer satisfaction and loyalty.
BOPIS (Buy Online, Pick Up In-store)
A BOPIS retail strategy allows shoppers to buy products online and pick them up in-store. Many consumers find this ideal, as it limits their time in a store and prevents them from paying additional shipping fees.
From the retailer’s perspective, BOPIS can also create an opportunity to improve the customer experience and maximize the chances of upsells due to increased foot traffic in the store. As consumers come into the retail store to retrieve their BOPIS purchases, retailers also must consider how the customer will receive their product with safety in mind.
ROPIS (Reserve Online, Pick Up In-store)
ROPIS is similar to BOPIS, however, it offers the customer more flexibility with a “try before you buy” approach.
With ROPIS, the selected items are put on hold for the customer so they can review the products in one, quick visit. This reduces their contact in-store, as it prevents them from taking the time to scan the aisles for each product they’d like to evaluate.
By implementing ROPIS, retailers are also able to remove potential friction during the checkout process and reduce returns, which can waste valuable time and money.
BORIS (Buy Online, Return In-store)
As stated earlier, omnichannel retail is a layered approach to the customer experience, and any of these strategies can be used simultaneously. Offering BORIS in addition to the solutions listed here is the perfect example of an expanded retail experience you can provide to your customers.
BORIS can be offered to any customer, regardless of if they purchase online or in-store. If shoppers can’t decide between the size or color of a product, they will often purchase variants of the same product with the plan to return what didn’t meet their needs. Creating an in-store experience that allows customers to avoid long lines at a post office or shipping center can also help improve the customer experience.
As the retailer, the key is to provide a seamless BORIS strategy that specifically communicates a step-by-step return process to the customer.
Though the act of online shopping isn’t new, the need for the easy, contactless experience ecommerce offers has rapidly increased.
Though viable, strict ecommerce can still have its setbacks, especially with this increased demand. Shoppers should expect depleted inventories and longer shipping timelines, however, the low to no-contact solution that ecommerce provides can come as a relief to many shoppers.
Contactless Mobile Payments
Contactless payments can mean a few different things, however, most revolve around mobile payment options. Although the latest “tap-to-pay” technology that launched last year with most major credit cards is considered contactless, not every retailer’s POS system is up to speed for this low-contact option.
Many retailers instead offer mobile apps that allow customers to pay by scanning a barcode within the app that is linked to their credit card information. If a customer is shopping off-site in the app, they are also able to pay for their goods within said app and pick up their order at a later date (read: BOPIS). This prevents customers and employees from handling physical cards, customers touching the POS systems, and more.
Payment options like this are not “new”, however, consumers’ recent desire for low-contact fintech solutions are speeding up their adoption.
Unifying Your Retail Management
We offer versatile omnichannel retail software for business owners, regardless of existing technologies or inventory structures.
By enhancing your omnichannel retail strategy and implementing any of these contactless retail solutions for your business, you’re able to improve your efforts, effectively manage your customer orders, safely reopen your retail business, and prepare for the future of retail all with one system.
To learn more about how you can set up contactless retail solutions for your business in just a few hours, learn more and get in touch with us today.