For a number of years now in retail, you’d have been forgiven for thinking that all roads lead to coffee when it comes to giving customers what they want – and there have been signs that many facets of the traditional retail and hospitality experience are combining.
In the UK, for example, many of the major retail chains such as John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, and Waitrose have added hospitality point of sale (POS) to their offering – be it through launching their own cafes, adding concessions, or simply providing self-serve drinks machines in their stores. Even Furniture Village showrooms give shoppers a chance to pour themselves a hot cup of something while perusing the range of beds, sofas and wardrobes on display.
We’d already proved our credentials with a specific POS product for the optical sector but we’ve now made it a hat-trick of sector solutions by adding in hospitality – the football terminology seems apt in this World Cup year.
What It Means For VARs
What we are describing as the iVend Triple Play solution – a POS and retail management system suitable for traditional retailers, optical firms and hospitality players alike – can help VARs break into new industries.
Think, specifically, about the restaurant/retailer hybrids and convenience stores with food-to-go services that require omnichannel systems for multiple POS terminals and product ranges – there’s a real opportunity to support these businesses in their new endeavours by teaming up with an organisation like iVend.
Basically, as retailers add hospitality elements to their proposition, and hospitality companies add retail features to theirs – a trend neatly illustrated by big chains like Starbucks selling their own merchandise and independent breweries and food & beverage operators pushing their own retail products – there is an increasing need for technology stacks to support diverse services.
We as a technology community can learn a lot by looking at the actions of the retailers, hospitality and optical companies we strive to serve.
As they put an ever-growing emphasis on what their customers require, and change their offering accordingly, we as technology companies need to put the same laser focus on those end consumers. And, similar to what’s going on at iVend Retail right now, us technology organisations will have to amend our offering based on those customer needs.
Recent research we conducted into the habits of consumers around the world showed, above all, that a good consumer experience is created if they receive convenience and quick service. If they get that as part of their trip to the store, restaurant, brewery, nightclub or optician they’re much more likely to part with their money, and thus keep returning to that establishment.
By presenting our customers with technology that enables them to offer this convenience and quick service to their own customers, we should keep everyone happy. Consumers will show their loyalty to the retailer, hospitality or optical company, and those businesses will be more inclined to show their loyalty to us through repeat service deals and longer-term technology partnerships.