Contactless Shopping And The 3 Ways Retail Is Surviving COVID-19


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Introduction

COVID-19 has impacted many industries, but the retail industry is especially hard-hit. As many stores worldwide have been forced to close due to government orders, sales have dramatically declined for traditional retail (with a resulting shift towards e-commerce). 

In areas that do allow for patrons to visit stores, self check-out kiosks are a common way to avoid direct interactions with staff. Yet in many areas where retail operations are closed, and for many people who would like to avoid going outside, any kind of in-store interaction is infeasible.

Thanks to the increasing popularity of contactless shopping, stores are finding safe ways to provide customers with goods quickly and easily, all the while respecting social distancing best practices.

This is not to say that traditional retail outlets have completely shut down. Thanks to the increasing popularity of contactless shopping, stores are finding safe ways to provide customers with goods quickly and easily, all the while respecting social distancing best practices. In fact, the speed and simplicity of contactless shopping can serve as a key differentiator for retail as compared to e-commerce during the pandemic.

As you might expect, there are many moving parts required to make contactless shopping possible. Given the risk of contagion, there’s also no room for error. This is where mobile device management (MDM) is essential, for keeping employees and customers safe and satisfied.

Let’s take a look at three kinds of contactless shopping, and see how MDM for retail can help with each.

Contactless Pick-Up

Contactless pick-up involves customers going to a retail outlet and having goods deposited in their vehicles. Customers place orders at home, and the retail outlet informs customers when to come to the store. Customers inform staff of their arrival via smartphone, and staff promptly bring goods to customers’ cars and put them in their vehicles.

When done professionally and promptly, contactless pick-up can earn rave reviews and shift orders away from e-commerce websites (here’s an example). This requires employees to be fast while taking proper precautions, which can be difficult.

If the devices you provide employees with malfunction, this could make contactless pick-up inconvenient or impossible, but stores can safeguard against this by implementing MDM for retail, like SureMDM by 42Gears.

If the devices you provide employees with malfunction, this could make contactless pick-up inconvenient or impossible, but stores can safeguard against this by implementing MDM for retail, like SureMDM by 42Gears. You can use SureMDM to view and repair devices remotely in the event they are not working as intended, reducing downtime and keeping up the pace of contactless pick-up.

Contactless App-Based Shopping

Many people would prefer not to risk any kind of outdoor exposure, and call on apps such as Instacart and TaskRabbit. These apps connect a customer with a contractor who can shop on their behalf, and then deliver the requested items to the customer’s doorstep.

For retail firms, this means that offering goods through apps like Instacart is a way to remain relevant to consumers. However, this contractor-based delivery model has two high-risk interactions: the retail firm handing off products to the contractor, and the contractor handing off products to the customer.

Providing employees with dedicated-use tablets they can use to coordinate with app-based contractors is essential, but employees cannot afford to be distracted.

From the perspective of the retail firm, the goal should be to minimize how much time contractors spend inside the- store, and the amount of contact they need to make with employees. Providing employees with dedicated-use tablets they can use to coordinate with app-based contractors is essential, but employees cannot afford to be distracted. You can use MDM for retail technology, like SureLock by 42Gears, to restrict devices to the apps that contractor-based services provide to retailers.

Contactless Delivery

Both contactless pick-up and contactless app-based shopping require customers to have smartphones. Many people who need retail products during the pandemic are seniors who aren’t tech-savvy enough to engage in e-shopping or smartphone-based retail shopping. These seniors need to turn to stores that deliver directly to their homes– placing orders over the phone, rather than online.

While this provides retail stores with a reliable clientele, it places unique pressures on the store employees delivering orders. These employees need to navigate to homes while keeping goods safe and avoiding contamination, while potentially taking calls from customers while on the road. Finally, employees have to be careful not to make contact with the customer during the delivery process.

SureLock by 42Gears features a Driver Safety Mode, which restricts device functionality when vehicle speed exceeds certain thresholds. By putting this in place you can ensure your employees remain safe on the road.

In these stressful circumstances, workers are liable to make costly or dangerous errors if they start using devices while driving at full speed. This is where MDM for retail can save lives. SureLock by 42Gears features a Driver Safety Mode, which restricts device functionality when vehicle speed exceeds certain thresholds. By putting this in place you can ensure your employees remain safe on the road.

Conclusion

Just as the lifestyles of its customers have dramatically changed since the start of the quarantine, the retail industry is adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to the increasing prevalence of contactless shopping, retail firms have a chance to keep customers engaged by offering safe, fast purchase options.

Still, offering contactless pick-up, delivery, and app-based shopping is not easy. If employees are distracted, can’t get devices working, or drive recklessly, the added safety and convenience of contactless retail disappears.

This is why using mobile device management is so important. MDM for retail allows you to remove distractions, easily troubleshoot devices, an d ensure drivers stay focused on the road.

42Gears SureMDM and SureLock provide you with the tools needed to make contactless shopping possible.

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