Storing solutions for the future

Storing solutions for the future

Retail responded to changed circumstances with payments options and self-checkout, but a more profound shift is coming with data-driven decisions

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5th December, 2021

When the first Covid-19 lockdown hit in March 2020, retailers were forced into sink-or-swim territory, but the right technological solutions allowed the sector to survive and thrive.

Most notably for consumers, payment patterns changed, with cash being replaced by digital payments and the implementation of frictionless technology, and self-checkout accelerated.

TJ McHugh, research and development director at CBE, innovators in retail and hospitality IT in Ireland and Britain, said this demonstrated that the retail and hospitality industry is now adapting quickly to those new technological innovations.

"While this adoption has been in part due to Covid, we had already seen accelerated investment in those technologies, not only in major multiples, but also across the independent retail sector.

"For instance, we’ve seen a major surge with retailers adopting frictionless technologies, including self-checkout, online ordering, click & collect, and self-scan using your own device. For the hospitality industry, we have seen particular growth in pay at table, drive-thru, online ordering/delivery, and kitchen automation solutions."

The ability to recruit staff is now a problem within the industry and CBE’s customers have found that by utilising these technologies it allows them to increase their efficiencies, enabling their staff to concentrate on providing a better consumer experience.

“Another example of this technology working well is within convenience stores, where the self-checkout solution allows a single staff member to serve customers as well as monitor up to two self-checkouts. This frees up colleagues in the store to undertake other duties such as ensuring availability of stock and improved communication with customers,” McHugh said.

Not surprisingly, the increase in self-service technology has seen an enormous reduction in cash transactions, especially in Britain where the spending limit on each use of a contactless card has been raised to £100 (€117). This has led to significant retailer savings in reconciliation processes and banking charges.

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Data store

McHugh said that because many CBE solutions are available on a Software as a Service (SaaS) basis, retailers could deploy new technologies to meet demand without worrying about capital expenditure.

“Our experience has shown that the option to avail of a SaaS model makes the investment in new technology a more viable business decision, as we can generally incorporate these solutions on existing hardware platforms.

“Currently, our R&D division is investing heavily in Cloud-based technologies. This will offer retailers the flexibility to manage their business from anywhere, even in the comfort of their own home, using any mobile device. All information is in real-time, using predictive analysis, business intelligence, and data analytics."

CBE also deploys internet of things (IoT) technology for communication and monitoring of third-party devices. An example of this is communicating with coffee machines to analyse sales data and wastage. “We believe this technology will have enormous benefits for the retailer in the future,” McHugh said.

“Our experience has shown that retailers who are embracing technology can now see that the investment will benefit their business, and that they will continue to be leaders within their industry, by having all the information at their disposal to make the correct business decisions.”

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