As the weather gets colder and Thanksgiving draws near once again, retailers of all kinds are transforming their storefronts into winter wonderlands to welcome the upcoming holiday season.
For most, the day after Thanksgiving, known by many as Black Friday, marks the launch of the holiday shopping season. However, a recent report by the National Retail Federation found that many consumers are beginning their holiday shopping for the year as early as October. According to the report, 39 percent of those surveyed planned to start in October or earlier, 43 percent planned to start shopping in November, and a mere 18 percent planned to wait until December.
With the Thanksgiving holiday falling later this year than normal, many retailers are getting a head start too. Who could blame them, though? After all, sales made during the holiday season represent about 20 percent of all annual retail sales—that’s a lot of volume packed into a few weeks.
In many cases, the sudden uptick in shoppers and sales means more crowded stores, longer lines, busier cashiers, and sometimes disgruntled customers—all of which can be pain points for retailers. While the holiday rush is pretty much inevitable, interactive retail kiosks of all kinds—from endless aisle to automated smart lockers, self-checkout, and everything in between—are designed to help alleviate some of these pain points for retailers and enhance the holiday shopping experience for their customers. Here’s how:
While some consumers prefer to wander every aisle and explore all that a retailer has to offer, others come in with certain products in mind and look to check items off their list as quickly as possible. Designed to drive efficiency throughout the entire retail experience, endless aisle kiosks enable shoppers to quickly and easily browse and choose from the available inventory, both in-store and online, and pay for their goods—all from the kiosk. Customers are able to select and receive their purchases in a timely manner and retailers are able to limit congestion throughout the store—it’s a win-win.
Decreasing Wait Times
As more consumers have grown to enjoy the luxury of shopping from their own homes, services such as buy-online, pick-up in-store, also known as BOPIS, have exploded in popularity. Designed to eliminate the need for BOPIS customers to wait in line for the checkout counter, which often unnecessarily contributes to the already long lines, automated smart lockers offer an easy-to-use order pick-up solution. Shoppers can simply scan their barcode or enter their unique PIN number and retrieve their order from the locker—no waiting and no lines required.
Improving Customer Service
For retailers, one of the most important aspects of their business is the level of customer service they offer to shoppers—and the busy season is no exception. In fact, many retailers often bring on additional team members during the busy holiday season to ensure that their customers receive the level of service they deserve. Self-service checkout kiosks, designed to allow customers to quickly scan, pay for, and bag their items can be used to complement these efforts. They can also enable some employees to take on more customer service-centric roles, further increasing the number of employees available to help throughout a store and improving the level of customer service shoppers receive.
According to a recent article, 2019 holiday retail sales in the United States are expected to exceed $1.1 trillion dollars—an increase over last year, once again. As consumers continue to invest more money in the retail sector over the holidays, interactive retail kiosks help to ensure that the in-store experience is a positive one.
To learn more about Meridian’s retail kiosks, visit www.meridiankiosks.com.