Touchless Retail Experiences – The New Normal

May 20, 2020

The end of queues? How technology offers a road map for retailers to overcome the new COVID-19 era

By David Grenham, MishiPay

With the recent developments on the COVID-19 outbreak, we’re constantly being reminded to keep safe and adjust our behaviors during these unprecedented times. We’ve seen major retailers shut their doors as a precaution for their staff and shoppers’ safety. Stores that stock the essentials are remaining open, whilst implementing drastic measures to keep the public  safe. These measures, whilst having everyone’s safety in mind, do present their own challenges. Social distancing has become the new normal and while we are advised to limit face-to-face interactions, weekly tasks such as essential shopping can still be a hotbed for the spread of the disease. David Grenham, marketing vice president at MishiPay, shares his perspective on key technologies that could help retailers tackle rising hygiene concerns now and in the post COVID-19 future. 

Queues have been a problem for as long as modern retail has existed, but many retailers have seen a large increase due to the COVID-19 outbreak as shoppers flock to their nearest stores to stock up on essentials. Lines that are stretching further than usual have populated the news from day one of the lockdown. Although some measures have been lifted in countries like Germany and Italy, queueing remains a big issue worldwide and will likely influence the way we shop even beyond the COVID-19 crisis.

‘Scan and Go’ technology is a solution that facilitates immediate and contactless purchasing by giving customers the ability to scan and pay for items directly from their mobile phone, thus eliminating the need for the traditional ‘queue-and-checkout’ method.

Despite these challenges, there are technologies available that can aid retailers today and in the long-term. ‘Scan and Go’ technology is a solution that facilitates immediate and contactless purchasing by giving customers the ability to scan and pay for items directly from their mobile phone, thus eliminating the need for the traditional ‘queue-and-checkout’ method. Using MishiPay’s patent-pending technology, items equipped with UHF RFID tags (like those produced by Avery Dennison) can be automatically disabled when a shopper has scanned the QR code and paid for an item. Shoppers no longer need to approach a physical checkout to have these tags disabled. Their journey is now frictionless, queue-free and safe, while maximising the efficiency of the store by increasing transaction capacity and freeing staff from checkouts points to focus on other priorities.

Online sales have seen a drastic spike due to physical stores closing as a result of COVID-19. While retailers adjust their operations and supply chain efficiency, they can leverage the power of IoT and Intelligent labels to help better operate online stores while ‘Scan and Go’ platforms like Mishipay can help keep up with customer demand for a ‘touchless’ retail experience. In addition, by improving inventory management — which is critical to online and omnichannel success — retailers can ensure they satisfy customer demands in real time.

Whilst these technologies were already on the radar of retailers around the world, the impact of COVID-19 serves as a pivotal moment of no return; shoppers will naturally demand more convenient and safer ways to shop and checkout in the future, driving retailers to continue to look into social distancing measures and adjustments. A transition to automated, more agile supply chains will also be part of the change, leading the way to a ‘touchless’ experience end-to-end. 

About MishiPay
MishiPay is a London-based tech company and an Avery Dennison partner. MishiPay’s digital platform empowers shoppers to scan and pay for their shopping with their smartphones, rather than wasting time queuing at the checkout. 

For more information, visit mishipay.com

Related content

When it comes to touchless shopping, no technology does it all

Spurred by Amazon and other convenience-oriented brands employing breakthrough technology, the grocery industry was already moving toward a digital transformation aimed at making shopping for food faster, easier, and more fun. As early as January 2019, 73% of consumers said they were in favor of self-service technologies to improve the shopping experience and reduce human interaction, according to SOTI’s Annual Connected Retailer Survey.

COVID-19 ups the Ante in the race for convenience

The need for social distancing is accelerating the trend toward more convenient, digitally enabled, "frictionless" shopping. Innovators are turning to RFID for better customer experiences, vastly improved inventory management, and more. Julie Vargas, our Intelligent Labels global director of RFID market development for Food, shares her perspective on the new meaning of “convenience” in a post pandemic world.

Touchless retail experiences – the new normal

COVID-19 will contribute to a fundamental shift in consumer behavior. For Francisco Melo, vice president and general manager, Global Intelligent Labels, Avery Dennison, it’s clear that retail as we know it will need to further innovate and ‘touchless’ retail concepts will help brick and mortar stores not only defend their territory but shape the future of retail.