Beef Up Your Touch Sales Potential
By offering touch solutions to hard goods and grocery retailers, you have an opportunity to boost your sales. Retailers are demanding touch, and you may have the expertise it takes to give them what they want.
Touch technology has clearly made an impact in the hospitality market, specifically in restaurants. The benefits that made touch a staple in food service could have the same impact on hard goods and grocery. As a POS (point of sale) VAR you already have the expertise necessary to bring touch technology to these retailers while expanding your client base and boosting your sales potential.
Accuracy, ease of use, lack of user intimidation, and transaction speed are the driving forces behind touch technology's success in hospitality. These benefits carry over into both grocery (at self-service or manned POS stations) and hard goods (at the POS or as a customer service tool). A touch install in these retail sectors is inexpensive for you, is beneficial to the retailer, and opens up new sales possibilities. Have you considered all of the benefits you could reap by bringing touch technology to retailers outside of hospitality?
Replace Outdated POS Systems With Touch Technology
How many times have you visited a restaurant that has not implemented a touch solution? Probably not many, since touch has become a common technology used in restaurants. That means less sales potential for you in a competitive arena. On the other hand, seeing a clerk using a touch monitor in a hard goods retail environment is not as prevalent. That doesn't mean you, a POS VAR, should disregard these retailers as potential customers. "Over the last 24 to 36 months we have seen touch solutions expand into verticals other than hospitality. In the hard goods retail sector, if there is a way to simplify transactions by using touch screens with drop-down menus and navigable interfaces, the transaction will be more accurate and efficient," says Steven Abramovich, director of sales for the Americas at Elo TouchSystems, Inc. (Fremont, CA). Elo develops, manufactures, and markets touch screen and touch monitor products.
Self-checkout station implementations in grocery are on the rise. Most of these stations include a touch screen component. But self-service is not the only place for touch at the POS. Abramovich gives an example, "A nationally known home improvement store installed touch screens at a manned POS return desk, and reduced return time per transaction by 50% because of the accuracy and efficiency of using a touch solution." Touch makes it easy to navigate through applications; at the POS this means faster transaction speed and satisfied customers for retailers.
Replacing outdated hardware with touch technology at the POS gives retailers a reason to replace keyboards and monitors. The cost of keyboards and monitors combined is comparable to that of a touch monitor. "Most retailers use monitors and keyboards at the POS. If you add up those two costs, it's the same cost as the touch screen monitor," says Gee Singgih, partner, Pioneer POS Inc. (Walnut, CA), a vendor of POS touch systems. This cost comparison is another reason why retailers in a hard goods or grocery environment are beginning to turn to touch solutions at the POS.
Open The Door To Kiosk Sales
Installing a kiosk in a retail environment with a touch screen solution is another opportunity for potential touch sales. For example, a kiosk used as a customer service tool in a department store allows customers to check inventory, search Internet catalogs, and find the location of a product in a store. In a grocery or hard goods environment, retailers will also have the ability to print flyers, coupons, and other promotional information based on a customer's search. With a touch screen you can make these customer service processes more appealing to the customer. Without a touch screen component, these applications require a keyboard and track ball to navigate screen by screen effectively. This adds complication and an element of intimidation. With touch you can not only dispose of this excess hardware, but also improve customer service. As a POS VAR you may already have the expertise in hardware integration, front and back end software integration, and back end networking to implement a kiosk for services in retail. "This may be a new technology for VARs - there is a lot of connectivity involved and different software - but it's definitely a growth technology," says Paul Olson, sales and marketing manager for GVision-USA Inc. (Lake Forest, CA), a manufacturer and designer of LCD displays.
If you're apprehensive because of the high price tag a kiosk rollout could carry, there is another option for VARs: a touch screen with a Web-browsing interface minus the kiosk components. "I think you will eventually go into a department store and see a touch screen on the wall where customers can navigate their way through the store without help from a sales associate. Touch screens can also reduce cost and labor spent on store flyers," says Olson. For example, in a grocery environment flyers can be reduced or eliminated by simply using a touch solution allowing a customer to see the weekly specials on the screen. You could very easily install a touch screen customer service solution in a hard goods or grocery environment without the cost of a printer and enclosures kiosks require. "By using a touch screen with a Web-browsing interface you're able to very cost-effectively produce the same retailer/customer benefits a kiosk provides, without the hardware," says Kelly Devin, worldwide product monitor manager, 3M Touch Systems (Methuen, MA), a supplier of touch screens and touch screen products. Singgih believes if a customer implements touch as a customer service tool in a kiosk or with just a touch screen, then it only makes sense to install touch at the POS. "A kiosk is an extension of the POS. If the retailer is ready to install a touch solution from a customer service perspective, then that same customer needs to think of how installing touch at the POS could improve their bottom line," says Singgih.
Software Makes Or Breaks Your Sale
Whether you're installing a touch solution at the POS, a kiosk, or a stand-alone touch screen with a Web-browsing interface, the software is the backbone of a successful implementation. It takes more than just putting up a touch screen with access to a retailer's Web site. The software has to provide large buttons and fewer choices on each page to make it easy to use by customers. If the right software is implemented, user intimidation should be reduced, decreasing the amount of time a clerk spends with a customer. Eventually this could lead to fewer salespeople on the floor during each shift.
Combining the hardware and software to make a touch solution lucrative for the retailer, as well as yourself, is only one aspect of making touch a success outside of hospitality. "There is a demand from retailers for touch solutions. VARs need to promote touch and ask their customers if touch technology is a solution they have considered," explains Abramovich. Devin agrees, "It needs to be a push-pull system, where the retailers are looking for touch solutions. However, VARs need to be promoting touch. You can't just sit back and wait for something to happen."