The sudden arrival of COVID-19 has impacted all of our workflows and individuals and businesses have been forced to adapt practically overnight.
For many businesses, this means transitioning your business model - at least temporarily - to contactless solutions. Even without a global pandemic compelling your actions, adopting contactless systems can result in streamlined processes, increased security, and more satisfied customers.
What Does Contactless Mean?
The concept of going contactless has been a buzzed-about retail trend for a while now.
Contactless technology allows customers to make purchases without a physical connection between their chosen form of payment and the point of sale (POS) terminal. Payment transactions are conducted by securely and wirelessly transferring information between the payment device and the payment system.
Rather than using a magnetic strip credit card, or even a more secure chip card, both of which are far more vulnerable to hackers and fraud, contactless transactions allow you to pay via smart devices, such as watches, mobile phones, and more. Just imagine Apple Pay, Google Pay, etc.
For retailers, accepting contactless payments can simplify payment processes in busy places (i.e. gas stations, concert venues, sports arenas), enhancing speed and convenience for customers. This increases transaction volume, which is great for your bottom line.
For customers, it eliminates the need to have cash on hand and provides a more secure method to pay than card payments.
And for employees, there is far less margin for error. No cash to count or keep track of, and no issues with credit cards not going through, only to be charged twice.
Collaboration is the Key to Contactless
For companies to successfully implement a contactless ecosystem, they need a spirit of collaboration, and for mobile phone companies and contactless technologies to align.
This is often a sharp departure from the typically competitive commerce landscape.
Within the company, everyone needs to identify and define their roles and responsibilities. This includes understanding how to implement and integrate the technologies, and most importantly, have clear policies regarding governance (i.e. who is doing what when).
The first step is to identify the scope of your contactless ecosystem. How will it impact your existing processes? What technology do you need, versus what do you already have? Select appropriate technology partners who can guide you towards the correct tools and systems.
Next, communicate clear and specific value. Employees will need to understand how contactless technology will make their jobs easier. Customers - especially those who are not early adopters of technology - will need to know why this is a value-add for them.
Finally, establish governance that will help guide and grow your ecosystem.
Going Contactless Quickly
Unfortunately, today’s business environment means that many companies have to go contactless quickly. They don’t have the luxury of time, as COVID-19 safety measures have all but eliminated face-to-face transactions.
Fortunately, Object Edge has two ready-made solutions.
The first, Curby Pickup, is a technology that will allow your business to manage curbside orders without having to create a system or manage unwieldy phone calls or emails and text messages.
This new, affordable, and rapid deploy technology is incredibly simple. Your brick-and-mortar store provides us with a spreadsheet of inventory. We’ll make those items shopable in Curbside Pickup Now.
Since the technology is cloud-based, it can be accessed on any device. You can scale quickly by having associates use personal devices. There is a store-level login (not associate logins) so you won’t need to create numerous accounts. Employees can simply login online and manage customer orders immediately.
Similarly, customers don’t have to download an app in order to place an order. You can even customize the experience: upload your brand’s logo, and create company-specific confirmation messages that customers receive when orders have been completed.
When an order is submitted, an associate can login and complete the “Add Order” section once they have filled it. Then, the customer receives a text or email indicating that their order is ready.
The customer will go to the store, and can click on “Curbside Pickup Now” to let the store know they have arrived. The store will receive an alert, and an associate can verify the customer’s order before delivering curbside.
Best of all? It’s contactless! Customers can pay for their order within the technology, and a simple product handoff is all that’s needed at curbside pick up.
You can learn more about how Curbside Pickup Now works, including pricing, here. Or sign up to be the first to know when this tech becomes available in May.
Alternatively, companies can embrace self-service models, which simplify the ordering process even further.
Even before COVID-19, the introduction of innovative self-service capabilities impacted the kind of customer experience B2B brands are expected to deliver. In fact, over 60% of the B2B sales cycle happens before a potential customer even connects with a sales representative.
And 70% of B2B buyers find buying from a website more convenient than buying from a sales representative. Customers now conduct a massive amount of independent research, all of it online, prior to reaching out to your business.
Technology has advanced to the point where self-service features can be applied to almost anything that customers need to do. This includes everything from customer support, to returns, reorders, billing, and more.
With so many processes disrupted by this virus, self-service puts the power back in the hands of your customers, and allows them to access the information they need, when they need it. Many businesses are still ironing out work-from-home wrinkles. Self-service means that customer support doesn’t stop, even as your company pauses to scale your remote systems.
It’s also an investment that will pay dividends in the future, even after things return to ‘normal.’
If you’d like to learn more about contactless solutions that will set your business up for success now and in the future, reach out to the team of experts at Object Edge.