Kiosk Solutions Issue 18 - Page 47

opinion With retail transforming at a rapid pace, it’s not terribly surprising that the year has flown by. The industry has witnessed some undeniably innovative changes – checkout-free convenience stores, an embrace of self-service kiosks in the quick service restaurant (QSR) and fast casual industries, and augmented reality playing a larger role in personalising the customer experience. On the flip side, we’ve also bid farewell to some traditional retailers that sadly couldn’t keep stride with their more inventive competitors. All in all, though, 2018 really shone a spotlight on the winners of the bricks and mortar sector of retail – those willing to regroup, reinvent, and re-establish a presence in their various verticals. I sat down with my Frank Mayer and Associates, Inc. colleagues to get their unique perspectives on the point of sale and retail industries in 2018. How would you sum up the last year in the point of sale industry? 1 Mike Mayer, President MM: Still solid. Bricks and mortar retail remains strong but will need to continue striving to provide a positive and exciting experience to attract customers. Then the retailers need to continue to change to keep them coming back. David Anzia, Senior Vice President of Sales DA: There appear to be more category- managed merchandising and displays. It’s about streamlining the shopper experience and removing competing graphics, colours, and messaging. I’m also seeing more measured, ROI-based models for all displays. Because brands tend to have a smaller inventory on the product shelves these days, ROI is tested even more in regard to how quickly the product sell-through takes place. Cheryl Lesniak, Integrated Marketing Manager CL: It’s been quite the shake-up in retail this past year. Those retailers who are willing to embrace technology to provide a customised consumer experience are proving why bricks and mortar stores are still integral in the shopping experience. Joe Holley, Vice President of Business Development JH: OEMs and retailers have had a challenge this year. I’ve noticed in client meetings that many are trying to reinvent themselves to combat online ordering and home delivery as well as separate themselves from the rest of the competition. They’ve had to really examine brand equity issues with buying groups. How they shop and how quickly they want items has an impact. Ryan Lepianka, Creative Director RL: It appears the ‘pie’ is redistributing with less market share being used at major department store chains, and more warehouse outlets relying heavily on point of sale to tell a product’s story in the absence of sales associates. In some retail stores, the level of style and experience in POS has increased, with brands at these outlets focusing their spending on portraying a showroom appearance. After all, while customers may end up making their purchases online, a great display can still help purchasers make a brand decision as people feel better about purchasing something they’ve seen and touched under favourable circumstances and not just only viewed on their phones. 2 What changes or trends did you see emerge in 2018? DA: A trend toward more category- managed displays, as well as the use of more semi-permanent materials on permanent displays to reduce overall costs. JH: I saw a lot of retailers take a step toward ‘pick up in store’ capabilities. It seems to help them minimise some inventories and offers more products that don’t need SKUs out on the floor. It ends up being a win for the customers as well when they don’t need to pay for freight to the store. CL: We’re seeing multiple e-commerce sites branch into the bricks and mortar sector, but with non-traditional marketing and customer service plans. RL: In 2018, I saw better looking, more dramatic, bigger, bolder, more innovative, higher-quality displays in focused retailers. Was there anything that you thought would be big, but ended up being less impactful? 3 MM: With so much buzz around self-service kiosks, I expected greater implementation of order entry kiosks KIOSK solutions 47