customer on phone

As technology evolves in stores and online, it is vital that retailers implement strategies that limit risk and ensure rapid response times when inevitable failures happen

Technology continues to evolve both online and physical store experiences. The news that Tesco is piloting a cashless model in some small stores, as well as launching a new payment app, shows how technology is spearheading a revolution in the retail sector and disrupting the supermarket business model.

However, even with the best planning and maintenance, technology at some point fails. When this happens, problems result for both shopper and retailer. We recently surveyed 1,000 consumers and two thirds reported they had experienced problems and breakdowns in stores. For one third of these shoppers, this meant they were unable to complete their purchase.

Whether a store’s entire existence hinges on technology or it plays a supporting role, it is vital that retailers implement strategies that limit risk and ensure rapid response times when the inevitable does happen.

This starts with making sure service providers are equipped to manage speedy same-day fixes. This needs to be the norm when negotiating service-level agreements and there are new technologies that can support this requirement. For example, creating micro-FSLs (forward stock locations) by combining sophisticated software and smart locker technology permits pre-positioning of repair items utilising overnight or through the day deliveries. Shortening the mean time to repair will limit the risk to retailers.

Retailers must consider every element of how to keep their experiential stores running. They must remember it’s not all about the front end - if networks and other systems fail, the entire experience is interrupted, potentially causing disloyal millennials to ‘jump shop’.

In addition to this, security measures can’t be ignored. New legislation such as PSD2 (Revised Payment Service Directive) means retailers must adopt advanced payment solutions that offer multiple layers of point-to-point encryption (P2PE).

As the rush to improve our shopping experience heightens, so must the measures that support the technical innovations behind this move.

Simon Fahie is MD, global technology at ByBox