"Contactless shopping" is a term that’s been making waves in the retail industry, and for good reason: COVID-19 is still making rounds in several parts of the world, including New Zealand. This means consumers are still extremely cautious about being in contact with others.
Research by Accenture found 64% of consumers remain fearful for their health, and 82% are fearful for the health of others.
One way to alleviate people’s health and safety concerns about retail to limit physical contact in your retail stores.
Here is a three-point checklist of ideas on how to do this, along with the ways Vend can help.
1. Implement contactless payments
Consumers are increasingly veering away from cash because of concerns that they cause the spread of illness. Credit cards are a good alternative, but since they require you to physically touch other devices, people are increasingly gravitating towards contactless payment solutions such as mobile payments (Apple Pay, Samsung Pay) or tap and go.
These payment options make your customers feel safer when they’re shopping, so if you’re not offering them in-store, now is the time to do it. Speak with your merchant services provider about the contactless payment solutions that are available, and invest in the hardware required to make it happen.
For best results, make sure your credit card processor integrates with your POS system so you can offer a seamless payment experience while reducing the need for manual reconciliation and extra admin work on your end.
Vend Tip: Vend integrates with virtually any payment processor, so it’s easy for you to accept all the ways that your customers want to pay.
2. Allow shoppers to place orders remotely and limit contact when giving them their purchases
Things like curbside pickup and rapid (sometimes same-day) delivery have been gaining steam for several years now, but the coronavirus pushed them to a whole new level. For many retailers, offering these services is practically a no-brainer.
Ideally, you’ll want to make the ordering and fulfillment process as streamlined as possible. This typically means letting shoppers order online and allowing them to select a fulfillment option (e.g., curbside pickup or delivery). Their orders will then be passed on to you, the merchant, so that you and your team can work on fulfilling them.
Refill Nation, a New Zealand-based shop that sells pantry goods, offers both store pickup and delivery throughout New Zealand. At online checkout, customers simply have to select their fulfillment preferences. If shoppers choose to have their orders shipped, Refill Nation has set charges depending on where the customer lives. For click and collect, they ask that you indicate your preferred time to pick up your order.
Refill Nation works with a third-party courier service to ship orders. This is a good way to go, especially if you’re shipping to farther cities and states. If you cater to local customers though, you can explore the feasibility of same-day delivery and either team up with a rapid delivery service or do it yourself.
If you decide to go this route, be sure to specify the geographic radius for same-day delivery and make sure you charge accordingly.
Vend Tip: If you run your business from a single outlet, you can use Online Fulfilment in Vend with your integrated ecommerce platform to allow customers to pick up their orders in-store.
3. Reduce in-store capacity or take appointments
You can limit physical contact in-store by reducing the number of people who can come inside. Kiwi retail stores have signs saying "no more than 10 customers" allowed in store at one time.
And while this might mean people have to fall in line outside, most shoppers are happy to comply and feel more at ease, knowing that these retailers are looking out for their health and safety.
Another option for limiting in-store guests is to take appointments so you can serve shoppers during specific time slots.
The COVID-19 pandemic will hopefully not be around forever, but we’re willing to bet contactless shopping is here to stay. Do your customers (and your business) a solid and start investing in the technologies and systems that’ll let you serve shoppers in a safe but effective way.
This article was created for Vend