The arrival of COVID-19 impacted all of our workflows as individuals and businesses were forced to adapt to a contactless business practically overnight.
For many businesses, this means transitioning your business model - at least temporarily - to contactless business 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 business 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 Business
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.
Mapping Customer Experiences
Customers and businesses have more options for providing contactless order delivery. We looked at four fulfillment options and mapped them against five variables: comfort, convenience, contact, speed, and price:
Curbspot: Curbside Fulfillment Management Software
Introducing the next generation of low-touch, in-store order fulfillment. Fast launch, easy for your store associates, smooth integrations. Manage your curbside pickup and BOPIS orders with a modern, seamless, cloud-based solution.
Curbside pickup was already gaining popularity before the recent global pandemic. In 2019, a study from Numerator found that 76% of Walmart customers preferred curbside pickup to in-store orders. In Spring 2020, customer behavior quickly changed:
Curbside pickup sales, which Target terms Drive Up, grew 600% year over year. Online orders picked up at stores jumped 70% from 2019 - DigitalCommerce360
Five million new customers shopped on Target.com during the retailer's Q1, and 2 million used its Drive Up curbside service for the first time. - Business Insider
Over 90 percent of those who have tried it said curbside was convenient. - NRF Consumer Survey
Walmart Inc.’s U.S. ecommerce sales shot up by 74% in the first quarter. Four-times more customers tried curbside pickup for the first time compared with recent periods. - DigitalCommerce360
Curbspot helps enterprises build a fast, scalable, seamless interface for curbside fulfillment. With integrations with leading eCommerce and OMS platforms, Curbspot allows businesses to:
- Meet growing demand for smooth curbside pickup
- Provide low-contact fulfillment for your customers and associates
- Easy, clear interface for your store associates
- Simple text and email messaging for your customers
- Custom marketing and messaging throughout the pickup process
- Webhooks and REST APIs for business integrations
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.