The past year has seen an acceleration in how technology is disrupting the retail sector, leaving merchants who don’t embrace digital solutions at risk of losing ground – not only to online competitors – but also brick and mortar stores that are making their own investments in a digitised future.

While many retailers have worked to implement customer-facing solutions and enterprise IT, some have overlooked the tools that can boost the productivity of store employees and streamline operational effectiveness. Despite the cloud cast over the consumer landscape and retail spending in 2020, the proliferation of next-generation mobile technology is now a key driver of customer experience, traffic management and sales growth for in-store retailers in 2021.

We’ve summed up the DataMesh top tips on how retailers can better engage, transact and get on the front foot on the new breed of payments driving the future of retail in Australia.

Transform payments pain into sales gain

Despite the rise of online and mobile e-commerce, more than 85 percent of transactions are still face to face. However, most retailers are still operating with outdated legacy payments technology, largely tethered to the counter and with no ability to interact with customers on the shop floor. This lack of customer engagement drives loss of sales, with customers walking out and not waiting around.

To top this off, most current point of sale (POS) terminals, back office software and e-commerce channels are not integrated, making end-to-end customer service a cumbersome task for sales assistants and frustrating for customers facing a queue at the counter and slow to pay scenarios

In today’s pandemic era, this also brings safety concerns to the forefront, with extended shopper queuing a possible health hazard and purchase deterrent.

Harnessing the power of modern and mobile payment technology, available now, enables retailers to connect sales associates to inventory and other back-end applications to better serve shoppers and improve customer experience.

Maximise mobility for seamless customer service     

Those retailers driving competitive advantage, are arming their stores and employees with innovative mobile solutions and smarter payment devices that can scan items and are fully integrated to POS systems. An optimised mobile strategy helps retailers seize the moment by providing the service a customer wants, at the point they want it. For shoppers, this would revolve around making the buying process as seamless, fast, and convenient as possible.

DataMesh’s purpose-built SatelliteTM platforms connect employees, back end data and customers from anywhere on the shop floor to the fitting room, drive-through or carpark. The possibilities are endless.

This simple change will mean shop assistants are in a better position to help customers and minimise queues with retail mobile solutions that reduce frustration and improve employee satisfaction, making their jobs easier. Providing sales assistance with mobility solutions, whether via smartphone, tablet, or wearable devices allows retail teams to be integrated and part of the customer’s journey, be more responsive to customer needs, and allow for quick and better decision making and in turn assisting them form an integral part of a retailer’s brand image.

Supercharge sales with omnichannel data strategies  

As e-commerce and mobile app channels grow rapidly off the back of COVID-19, most businesses cannot afford to be in-store only. Retailers are now implementing multi-channel strategies that enable them to replicate their in-store experience with online capabilities including click and collect. Next-gen technology solutions enable merchants to track and analyse buying patterns across both instore and online channels, giving them a 360-degree view of customer behaviour.

Furnished with powerful data insights, retailers can recognise customer preferences and customise their offerings and rewards programs for maximum impact. Smart businesses can also identify customers across channels with a card tokenisation solution. This allows them to identify the same customer via the card used, no matter which channel it is used to transact on and better target this multi-channel customer with targeted offers and up-sell opportunities to increase engagement and brand loyalty.

As retailers pave the way into 2021, there is no better time than now to embrace innovative technology solutions to solve current payment problems, enhance customer experience, adapt, and offer business continuity in a pandemic world and of course, drive successful sales transactions!

Mark Nagy is CEO of DataMesh