- Several retailers have partnered with solutions providers to offer better contactless experiences in the wake of the pandemic.
- This highlights the opportunity solutions providers have to bolster their client bases.
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Major retailers are embracing technologies that allow them to offer and improve contactless experiences in an effort to attract consumers who may be concerned about contracting the coronavirus through interactions with other people and shared surfaces.
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- Supermarket operator Giant Eagle added a curbside pickup solution that uses location data to help it prioritize certain orders. The FlyBuy Pickup platform, from location technology company Radius Networks, uses location data to estimate when a consumer will arrive at the store to pick up an order. It then sends stores that timing information so they can make sure the order is ready when consumers arrive. Giant Eagle says its curbside pickup orders have increased “exponentially” over the last six months, and this solution could help it more efficiently meet that demand and create a better experience for customers.
- Kroger partnered with a visual AI company to remove friction at checkout at 2,500 stores. The supermarket chain is working with Everseen to use its technology, which uses a camera and visual AI to identify errors in the self checkout and manned checkout process so they can be corrected, Huw Lloyd, chief strategy officer at Everseen, told Insider Intelligence. The technology can limit friction by prompting consumers at self-checkout to self-correct so that an employee doesn’t need to intervene, creating a faster experience with less exposure to other people for shoppers.
- Dressbarn is collaborating with Happy Returns to offer a contactless returns process to customers. The retailer, which relaunched as an online merchant after closing its stores in 2019, is working with the returns solution provider to allow shoppers to make in-person returns via QR codes at Happy Returns’ over 500 drop-off locations. With this effort, Dressbarn can provide a way for shoppers to quickly make returns—while limiting contact—without having to rely on USPS, which has had difficulties during the pandemic.
These examples show that solutions providers have the opportunity to bolster their client bases during the pandemic if they position their offerings as tools to create contactless experiences. Retailers need to boost their sales, considering in-store US retail sales have floundered, and adding solutions that make in-store shopping feel safer, or make omnichannel shopping easier, should appeal to consumers.
So, solutions providers should be promoting their contactless solutions and developing new ways to help merchants navigate the pandemic since 50% of US consumers plan to use curbside or contactless pickup more during the holidays this year than last year, for example. This should position providers to add clients as Radius Networks, Everseen, and Happy Returns have, and potentially convince new clients to keep using their solutions after the crisis subsides.
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