RBTE round up: touch screen kiosks, customer-only devices and mobile apps

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Exhibitors showcased a range of innovations at RBTE (11-12 March 2013). They included Pyramid’s multi-touch kiosks, which have been installed in Marks & Spencer stores to let customers browse, buy and explore inside the store; giving access to the larger online inventory.

The screens come in 22in, 24in, 32in and 46in sizes and can incorporate barcode scanners and printers plus RFID and NFC technology, allowing customers to use a variety of methods to instantly pay for their purchases without leaving the stand.

There are also opportunities to link the screens with social media and email to share search and purchasing information.

The kiosks can also incorporate cameras to enable customers to virtually try on products such as sunglasses, for example; and to experiment with make-up.

Retailers are looking for complete solutions to multi-channel delivery, according to Roy Patrick, multi-channel product director at Micros.

There is also increased demand for mobility such as Monsoon’s desire to ‘save the sale’ by issuing staff with tablets, which is reported to be driving 5-10% sales uplifts.

Other retailers are interested in the visibility of store stock and opportunity to pick from store stock for e-commerce, Patrick added.

Patrick said Micros’s ‘middleware’ is the retail hub which enables retailers to connect their businesses.

“We’ve gone from selling a particular application to always selling a number of applications,” he said. “Joining all of our applications together is key for Micros.”

Patrick forecast customer-only devices to be the next “big thing” in retail and revealed it is piloting an app with Shell at petrol stations in the south east of England. The app enables customers to scan a QR code on the forecourt to identify, activate and release a pump and make a payment.

CRM and creating opportunities to interact with the shopper in order to understand their transaction history and wish lists is key, Patrick added.

“Retailers are understanding how people shop with them,” he said.

Micros also tips stores will increasingly use social media to tie with their promotions.

Znap showed its mobile business platform, which optimises transactions through secure multi-channel mobile payments and offers loyalty tools and couponing plus customer communications.

Once a merchant is integrated, payment through the app is rapid, says Znap CMO David Pipe.

Znap is already been deployed in the Diamond Dining 219-strong restaurant chain in Japan plus Hypermart in Indonsia, which is using the app for coupons and loyalty but will add on payments shortly. It is also being used by airports in the US, providing a secure boarding solution plus ancillary services such as duty free purchasing and hotel reservations and even the capability to unlock a hotel door – what Pipe refers to as an “eco-system”.

Znap is also said to be ideal for queue busting in the supermarket and can facilitate shopping in the aisle. Shoppers can choose to pick up the products or request delivery, while retailers can use the technology to send customers coupons or offers.

Loyalty points can be instantly redeemed so customers don’t need to remember to bring along their loyalty cards. Payment can be made via QR codes, NFC tags or Bluetooth beacons.

Critically, customers’ credit and debit card details are all stored in the cloud, not the smart phone, and the transaction also occurs securely in the cloud.

Znap’s aim, says Pipe, is to “turn every advertisement into a sales channel”.

Using Znap, a retailer could run an advertisement offering consumers 20% off a pair of jeans if they come into store, for example. Using geo-location, Znap can find the shopper’s nearest store and check for product availability. Once in store, the retailer then has the opportunity to upsell.

According to Pipe, Znap is also configurable with a merchant web station, which allows retailers to set parameters on offers.

A retailer could run a two for one offer for a two-hour period in a specific geo-location, for example.

In a similar vein, Znap has a stadium-based solution to push out ‘goal-based’ offers.