Essential Retail talks mobile transactions, queue busting and payment security with Bixolon Europe’s managing director, Charlie Kim.
Essential Retail (ER): What key trends can we expect to see in terms of how consumers pay for goods in stores, over the next 12 months?
Charlie Kim (CK): Mobile payment systems are going to be a key trend worldwide in 2016. As the demand for consumer convenience grows so will the number of accepted payment methods. With digital wallets still in their infancy, major brands such as Apple Pay and Samsung Pay will continue to be challenged by the smaller independent pinpad providers.
ER: How does the UK compare to other nations when it comes to in-store innovation?
CK: The UK has always been quick to adopt and adapt to new IT technologies and has invested heavily in its IT infrastructure. Wi-Fi in-store networks are now more popular giving customers access to their own internal intranet.
Customer buying trends and customer loyalty systems are giving retailers much more insight into UK buying habits that will almost certainly differ from other European countries. But it is in-store where the focus is changing – a mobile revolution has seen the acceptance of Tablet PCs and similar devices being introduced to create a greater personalised shopping experience and customer loyalty.
The UK has been keen to embrace this new innovation and with the decreasing cost and increased reliability, coupled with greater flexibility, this is a trend that is likely to be driven by ease of use and convenience.
ER: How do you think the typical retailer point of sale (PoS) will look in 2020?
CK: Fundamentally the role of PoS will remain the same for the retailer giving them detailed analysis of their business. It will be the hardware that potentially will change – large media screens will replace customer displays with the PoS terminal shrinking to become a personal sales device.
ER: What would be your advice to retailers considering which in-store technology they should invest in for 2015-16?
CK: From pop-up shops, to endless-aisle kiosks, queue busting and 24/7 online shopping, consumer buying preferences are changing and retailers are under increasing pressure to maintain customer loyalty.
With this in mind there will need to be more focus on payment security from a retailer’s perspective. As consumer confidence in digital payment continues to grow, it will be the retailer’s responsibility to provide secure payment both in-store and online.
ER: Which retailers stand out for their innovative use of in-store technology?
CK: Retailers that can provide a seamless solution – from sale through to payment with guaranteed levels of security and personal data protection.
Customer confidence breeds loyalty and in turn will lead to an increase in sales.
ER: What can we expect to see from Bixolon over the next 12 months? What are your key focus areas?
CK: Traditionally Bixolon has always been a seen as a printer manufacturer, however as the PoS market continues to change we need to evolve with it. Our latest innovations are based around hardware connectivity focusing on the integration between the payment solution, EPoS peripherals and our mobile printer solutions. The demand for this duly exists and Bixolon is leading the way in this changing environment.