Article | March 2, 2020
Over the past few years, the retail space has seen a rapid expansion of technological advancement as consumers and employers alike have begun to embrace the latest tools and trends. In fact, nearly three-quarters of retailers are planning to increase technology spending in the next 12 months, according to Total Retail’s 2019 Retail Technology Report. Among the myriad of emerging technology in the retail space, one advancement automated supply distribution is likely to experience strong adoption over the coming year. Automated supply distribution.
Article | April 15, 2021
For many years, payment terminals have been a vital tool for businesses that complete their customer transactions in-store. The familiar hand-held devices have reliably taken card payments and offered simple additional services like mobile phone top-ups, cashback or electronic tipping solutions.
However, with recent technical innovation, boosted by the urgency surrounding Covid-19, the humble payment terminal is shedding its hard exterior - no longer is it, as some would argue, simply a commoditised, hardware-based necessity. As many within the payments space have predicted, the payment terminal is truly becoming a digital enabler and vital pivot point of modernisation for any business that accepts electronic transactions.
The Android Operating System leads the way
Today, payment terminals come in many forms. Though the traditional, handheld counter-top devices remain, many businesses now use off-the-shelf smartphones or tablets enabled with SPOC and CPOC technology.
Regardless of their physical form, truly modern payment terminals share a commonality – enhanced functionality which allows businesses to update and adapt quickly to changing performance, environments, and customer needs.
The Android operating system has been at the centre of a latest wave of innovation, facilitating the rise of mobile payment devices - pushed hard by the likes of Visa - and supporting the budding versatilities presented by Open Banking and PSD2 initiatives.
Combined, this new choice and flexibility has the potential to deliver significant advantages to businesses deploying Android point-of-sale (POS) solutions. These include integrated EPOS, strong authentication, and an array of alternative payment methods such as bank-to-bank payments, QR codes and even crypto currencies.
It’s about more than being just Covid-ready
Getting the timing right to make adjustments and improvements is now a focus for businesses across the UK as we start to emerge from Covid-19 restrictions and resume face-to-face interactions. The conventional payment terminal can play a central part in engineering the essential adjustments needed to create a Covid-safe environment – the new £100 contactless limit being the most obvious example.
However, functionality provided by the latest payment terminals allows businesses to do more than just make their premises Covid-ready.
For more commercial gains, payment terminals running on the Android OS allow for this same POS functionality but combine it with other essential business systems such as stock management, visual itemisation, and centralised booking systems.
As well as providing greater visibility of a business’ health and finances, more information also means friction points such as wait times and queues in store can be better managed. More data about customer behaviour also makes the in-store experience more customisable, for example, businesses can use this data to identify their busiest periods, explore seasonal changes or test new product lines and structure their staff planning and stock levels accordingly.
Coupled with more vital operational efficiencies, payment terminals can allow for a speed and flexibility of payments that can directly enhance the bottom line.
As the pace in retail environments ramps up to match that of the pre-Covid days, meeting new customer expectations and new environmental changes will be critical in staying relevant. An ability to accept the latest types and methods of payment could actually play a part in helping a business survive through difficult economic times.
Bolstering cash flow will also take on added importance as businesses rebuild. Payment terminals powered by better internet connections mean transactions are already faster, but internet speed alone is not enough. Today, terminals can be updated in ways that allow merchants to process those transactions faster still and get funds deposited into bank accounts in batches throughout the day, often completing within the hour.
Payment terminals and Big Data
With data becoming the bedrock of all modern businesses, it is the Android operating system’s ability to generate such an impressive wealth of data that adds to its compelling proposition. The value of Big Data and analytics to filter large volumes of information and uncover actionable insights is well known to the business world. Useable information can help leaders learn about their customers, make better decisions and, ultimately, produce more revenue. Customer data, for example, makes it possible for a business to learn about the buying behaviours of an individual customer or of defined customer segments.
When a business knows the time of day (or night) their customers shop and what type of purchases they make, it becomes easier to plan when inventories are stocked and with what items. Android payment terminals can provide data in a way that offers easy visibility of key trends and which specific hours of the day produce the most sales, allowing businesses to investigate possible reasons and react accordingly.
Such knowledge can then be used for a variety of purposes including the ability to upsell to future customers with greater success and the tactical arrangement of items in store. Crucially now, it will also enable businesses to maintain a Covid-safe environment by planning ahead for in-store activity and capacity limits.
With hundreds of applications already available to download from the app store, it’s important that SMEs are able to use this scale of choice to their advantage rather than become overwhelmed or distracted by it. Indeed, by taking the time to explore the apps available, smaller businesses can find the tools which allow them to level the playing field by bringing their operational efficiencies in line with larger brands and by leveraging the solutions that allow them to compete on customer service.
Article | February 17, 2020
According to data firm Statista’s most recent e-commerce outlook, Americans will spend over $1,500 online each over the next 12 months. Moreover, that number is expected to surge even higher as Americans opt to do their holiday shopping online rather than wind their way through those infamous, in-store holiday crowds. If your nonprofit is able to turn that online shopping activity into a fundraising stream, there’s massive potential to boost donations. And the good news is that it’s not incredibly difficult to get started. Below, we’ll walk through how you can get your organization set up to accept these donations during your community’s online point-of-sale moments. First, however, we’ll explore the overall value of point-of-sale fundraising and why you need to consider it as a viable strategy for your nonprofit.
Article | December 15, 2020
Prior to the pandemic and quarantine, less than 8% of commerce was online. As of Q3FY20 eCommerce grew north of 14% of all commerce. So while the Retailpocalypse was in its last phase, physical retail still outsold eCommerce by at least 7:1.
The failure rate of crowdfunding campaigns is 85%.
The failure rate of eCommerce store owners ranges from 80 to 97%.
What if there were a way to bridge the gap between these three failure rates? What if we could bridge what people consume online with what they purchase offline before waiting for brain-computer interfaces (BCI)? In short what if we could bridge social and commerce? (Example use case.)
Mostly missing are the memorable, meaningful, measurable and monetizable responses from people interested in stories about beagles, princesses and pitbulls, pets, car repair, raspberry blueberry vinaigrette gyros, budget-saving techniques for holiday travel, getting stuck at airports in blizzards, rental cars and Cup o’ Noodles, My Fair Lady and @Instacart, dining out at the delicious Banana Leaves café, cooking kosher halal gelatin-free, blue #1 artificial dye-free egg nog flavored marshmallows, 50th anniversaries and chocolate ganache, adventures camping with youth groups, birdhouses built by kids, rainbow hair dye, artificial dye-free cakes DIY for your child’s birthday party, and Halloween gingerbread houses and Greek Mount Olympus costumes.
Other than ad revenue Youtube collects which most of it’s video posters see little of, monetizing the DIY craze has proven quite tricky. Ditto for Christmas shopping, smartphone accessories, buying a new luxury Subaru online with no salesman, how to get hard to find contact lenses and vitamins for kids, how Amazon often has thrift store prices on inventory thrift stores rarely carry, the challenges of buying clothes on Amazon that don’t fit but you don’t realize that until the clothes arrive, DIY car repair, funny car repair, glorious victory of car repair, diaper cakes and muscle aches, drones and honey scones, Triple A baseball and blue-tailed skinks, favorite foods, fasting, and Boston, fused vertebrae and buried treasure, where to buy school supplies when most stores are sold out, creameries and charcuterie,
Bridging social media with eCommerce has been the white rhino of many investors and start-ups for many years.
Instead of working toward such solutions, we have VC’s and stockholders asking about vanity metrics:
- How many people looked at your website? Instead of: How many people subscribed or how many purchased an item?-
- How many downloads per month does your app have? Instead of: How many of the people who downloaded your app have note removed it less than 30 days later?
- What’s your ad revenue? Instead of: How can your product capture or create more value?
In reply entrepreneurs answer these questions, they often present their increased spend on marketing followed up with vanity milestones:
“We’re using Google Analytics and similar providers to track every movement of the supply chain, to ensure when the purchaser’s journey is completed, there’s no delay in delivery. This will lead to more frequent purchases ideally of higher priced products, and…
We are pitching to Chipotle on Friday!”
This leads to concentrated research on Chipotle’s SWAT, followed up with an excellent pitch including a demo via Zoom.
The result of this pitch is usually:
1. The person loved the pitch and accepts your invitation to meet again with his/her manager next week.
2. The person you pitched to is not the decision-maker
3. The person you pitched to doesn’t quite understand what you’re pitching
4. The person you pitched to had 3 other projects due by COB and wasn’t fully present and listening to your 10-minute pitch
5. You provided too many facts too quickly, trying to build rapport
6. You shared how you’re product can reduce shrink, increase ROI, decrease costs, increase retention, and cure cancer. The person you pitched to doesn’t believe all those promises.
7. The person you pitched to is afraid of advocating change; the risk from change that results in lesser results can lead to negative repercussions. The risk of “business as usual” is minimal.
Forgotten by almost all eCommerce platforms and store owners are the facts that:
- People behave differently when they are observed (best behavior vs. average behavior). Despite this, we are seeing an incredible number of start-ups that offer to help track everything your customers do. “We’re Palantir for eCommerce” is essentially the ethos of these companies.
- The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwarz – too many choices overwhelm the person making the choice, to the point that no decision is made. If you don’t train your mind to buy what you want even if you have to look on pages other than Amazon and Google Shopping, you might end up buying the product you almost wanted.
- The concept of incentivized virality – when PayPal gave $20 to each person who referred another person who joined, and when DropBox offered free data storage to people who referred friends who joined – which Reid Hoffman and Chris Yeh brilliantly detailed in Blitzscaling:
The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies.
So now each eCommerce platform tries to copy Amazon who built their model on the opposite of physical retail. Consider your last experience renting a car at an airport vs. Amazon:
- Do you want to refill the gas tank or would you like us to?
- Would you like liability only or more comprehensive types of insurance coverage?
- Would you like a GPS?
- Would you like to join our exclusive members club? etc., etc.
Adding to what @ElevateDemand said, “ B2B marketing is broken,” Raj De Datta, CEO and cofounder of @Bloomreach said, “The future of B2C marketing looks like B2B marketing,” Kevin Marasco, CMO of @Zenefits correctly said “marketing is going back in time from B2B to B2C” or person to person.
Smart speakers in every phone, tablet, laptop PC, TV, and car succeeded by BCI, which @Facebook and @Neuralink are pioneering, hold great potential. Until those products arrive or after their R&D phase, @Homemaide’s object recognition and image recognition models can provide the sorely needed bridge between Social and Commerce.