Wireless Logic Group (credit image/Pixabay/TheDigitalArtist)Wireless Logic Group has published the results of a new Censuswide report into the ongoing digitisation of consumer behaviour. The report examines the adoption of next level retail experiences. It examines how an increase in food deliveries, omnichannel shopping and cashless payments is currently driving the need for resilient online connections across the retail sector.

By bringing resilience to their IoT applications, retailers can innovate and thrive ahead of their competition. This report focuses on three distinct use cases – point-of-sale (POS) terminals, vending and last mile delivery.

POS must be available, reliable, and secure

PoS technology is critical in today’s retail market. Credit and debit card transactions have become the de facto choice of payment. 38% of respondents citing contactless, chip and pin as the payment method they use most often. For retailers looking to avoid churn, this requires immediate connectivity to ensure customers can always pay, without delay. When asked what they would do if their preferred payment method was unavailable online, one in five respondents would find an alternative retailer. When shopping instore, 21% blame the retailer if a card machine was available but not working when payment was attempted.

Security is also front of mind. 58% of respondents are concerned about the security of their personal details or payment information when making an electronic payment. 37% believe it is the retailer’s responsibility to ensure the security of the transaction.

Vending machines growing in popularity

Vending, and automated retail in particular, is one of the fastest growth areas of retail today. Accelerated by Covid-19, vending machines provide an unattended retail solution that works across a diverse range of businesses and environments. The research reflects this upward trend. 46% of consumers agree that there should be more options to purchase goods through vending machines in the UK. When asked why, respondents cited convenience (53%), accessibility (45%) and friendlier operating hours (33%).

Airports, hotels, and hospitality venues are popular locations for vending machine use. The average consumer used one location, five times in the last three months, at one or more of these locations. Magazines and newspapers (61%), non-alcoholic drinks (74%), and hot food (48%) are the categories consumers are most willing to purchase from vending machines. That said, alcohol (48%) and vaping products (31%) were also popular responses.

(credit image/LinkedIn/Jason Vincent)
Jason Vincent, Innovation Software Director at Aeguana

There has been much debate over how the retail sector can both survive and thrive in a post-pandemic world. Businesses and consumers have had to change the way that they interact,” said Jason Vincent, Innovation Software Director at Aeguana. The company is an award‐winning company specialising in automated retail technology and a Wireless Logic customer.

“Given focus on unique touchless vending technology, it is welcome to see increasing consumer demand for vending in this report. Digital vending machines, like all point‐of‐sale terminals that process cashless payments, depend on resilient, continuous connectivity to take payments. They also need to provide a seamless customer experience. So, this must be a primary consideration for organisations. Without it, there is a high risk of revenue loss should customers be unable to pay using their preferred method. Alternatively, unable to use other on-screen services such as redeeming a discount code, and ultimately taking their business elsewhere.

Timeliness, traceability, and sustainability

The transport and logistics sector are key to keeping the retail and eCommerce sectors running efficiently. Particularly as consumers express higher expectations of last mile service. When ordering takeaway food, consumers are willing to wait an average of 35.14 minutes from order to delivery. With just 0.57% prepared to wait longer than an hour.

Traceability is also important for brand reputation. 33% think the retailer is more likely to lose the product if delivery tracking information was not available. 25% would think the retailer was not legitimate. The importance of delivery tracking information seems to rise with purchase value and perishability. Consumers are most concerned with the traceability of electronics 87%, white goods 86% and food and perishables 86%.

Lastly, 52% would pay more for an item if the delivery options were more sustainable. This includes green delivery slots, bicycle deliveries, click and collect, escooters or electric vehicles and delivery robots. This number rises to 61% in the 16-34 age group.

“Timely deliveries depend on reliable connectivity to function – there are so many online interactions between delivery drivers and retailers to arrange and confirm pick-up and drop off details,” said Ian O’Connor, Managing Director at Eskuta Limited, a Wireless Logic customer. “It’s a seamless operation made possible by the rapid exchange of up-to-date information. Any failure in communication could result in missed orders, unsuccessful deliveries or frustrated customers chasing updates. Such outcomes make for bad customer experiences, potentially lost revenue, and long-term reputational damage, which can all be terminal in today’s competitive retail landscape. The survey reflects this, as consumers are increasingly demanding shorter lead times – and GPS tracking across secure, reliable cellular networks is critical. And, if a delivery experience is poor, eight in ten respondents would be wary of making future purchases with that retailer or blacklist them altogether.

Enterprise Times: What this means for business.

The report suggests a clear desire for ‘Everything Now’. Where goods and services are ordered and delivered quickly and conveniently. The results point to rising adoption of smart digital vending, as well as demand for traceability and sustainability of deliveries. To meet high customer expectations of speed and simplicity, retailers need resilient and secure connectivity for their online services. Without it, they may lose orders and revenue or even suffer damage to brand reputation. The report indicates a significant opportunity for service providers to recommend the right IoT solutions. But what is needed is the ultra-resilient connectivity to help retailers stay competitive. The report suggests the last mile is where IoT is making a real impact on the retail experience. This will be important in future-proofing the sector.

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