im retail blog 2021 09 en

Click & collect in retail

We entered the 21st century already over twenty years ago. During this period, we have witnessed a tremendous acceleration in technology development. Many elements of everyday life and almost all sectors of the economy have been digitized. Changes were happening before our eyes at a pace that we could hardly follow. Particularly noteworthy is the emergence and increase in popularity of the Internet, as well as ubiquitous automation. These two elements changed the face of the service and industry sectors forever, but thanks to them the real revolution has come to retail.

 

Digital Trade

 

Did you know that in 2020 over 21.3% of all sales took place on the Internet? In the US alone, this translates to nearly a trillion dollars in items and services offered and purchased through the world’s largest digital medium. The numbers are impressive, but they also have far-reaching consequences. Online shopping requires extended logistics, after all, every single package must finally be in the hands of the buyer. With such a rapidly growing number of shipments, it was imperative to develop solutions that would simplify the delivery process. This is how parcel lockers were born. They centralize the last mile, reducing the need to deliver to many individual addresses, positively influencing the environment, economy and traffic congestion of cities. We have already written more about last mile logistics in THIS article.

 

A solution that amazed the world

 

The parcel machines have been very successful. The data shows that over 30% of e-commerce customers choose the option of delivery to these devices. No wonder that their potential has also been noticed in other branches of retail, but also in the service sector, and the whole idea of ​​using this type of vending machine to handle all types of orders has been named as click & collect. Its development can be especially noticed over the last year, when the world has plunged into the coronavirus pandemic and all forms of non-contact services have become desirable and valued.

Automated parcel terminals also began to appear in front of traditional stores, linking the world of e-commerce with stationary outlets. What are the advantages of such a hybrid solution?

 

 

 

Is the terminal in front of the store a „must have”?

 

No, it’s not a necessity, but it’s a great idea to simplify daily shopping experience and make it more enjoyable, faster and more convenient.

Supermarkets, large food discount stores and DIY stores are characterized by a large area, filled to the brim with a diverse assortment. Additionally, their layout is changed from time to time, which confuses customers. These elements add up to the fact that these daily purchases takes much time, becoming frustrating in the long run. In addition, shops are becoming overcrowded, so clients need to jostle and stand in long lines.

In the 21st century, some of the above problems were solved by e-commerce, enabling remote shopping with home delivery. A seemingly ideal solution, but here are also some logistical problems in the form of unfavorable time deliveries (absence at home), or often too long waiting for the shipment.

The click & collect system implemented in parallel with traditional stores combines the advantages of both worlds, showing that the golden mean does really exist. Thanks to this, each customer can do shopping in the online store during a break at work, and pick up their order on the same day straight from the automatic locker. The store’s opening hours are also not a problem, as the stations operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so pickup is possible at any time of the day or night. No tedious and time-consuming wandering between the aisles, no waiting for the courier, no nerves.

As the above examples show, the use of automatic parcel stations is a universal solution, but their role in the difficult period of a pandemic cannot be overestimated. Recent events have shown that during the difficult period of lockdown, they help stores keep their lives and customers to make necessary purchases in a safe manner. Of course, there is also the hygienic and sanitary aspect, i.e. the fact that the entire process takes place without contact or even touchlessly (thanks to dedicated app), which effectively prevents the risk of spreading the disease to others.

SelfMaker can boast of implementing such a system in the Leroy Merlin DIY store chain, and you can read a more detailed description of this project on the blog at: https://www.selfmaker.uk/business-case-szybkomat-24-7-click-collect-system-in-leroy-merlin-stores-based-on-selflocker-devices/

 

Rivals are not asleep

 

In order to stand out from the competition in the 21st century, it is not enough to tempt with promotions, low prices, a rich assortment, you have to go a step further and provide your customers with such conditions that will make them want to stay with the brand for longer. Today’s customers value saving time and nerves even more than saving money, and this can be ensured by a properly designed click & collect system, which will reduce the time wasted on essential shopping from a few hours to just a few minutes. The idea of click & collect in trade is a hit and a precise targeting of the needs of a large part of socjety. And this guarantees its further development and spreading increasingly wider circles, including other sectors of the economy.

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SUNMI K2 MINI – compact size, wide possibilities

Greater number of jobs, better access to cultural, entertainment and commercial centers make us observe the growing popularity of settling in cities. More and more housing estates are emerging, and city centers are also becoming more populated. While in the first case it is possible to properly plan the area, allowing to provide residents with access to all basic needs, the problem is greater in densely built-up city centers. And yet each of us sometimes needs access to services or places where we can do quick shopping without planning a trip to the nearest supermarket.

 

A store that everyone likes

That is why the so-called convenience stores, are getting so popular. As the name suggests, main features of these stores are convenience and accessibility. Popularly referred to as “corner” stores, small, and at the same time offering a wide range of basic goods and services. In Poland, the best example of a convenience store is a chain with a nice looking, green frog in a logo.

The report “Global Convenience Stores Retailing, 2017-2022: Market Size, Forecasts, Trends, and Competitive Landscape” indicates that the CAGR of convenience store market will amount to 8,5% in years 2017-2022, reaching at the end of this period $4,902 billion of value. The data also shows that the share of sales through this type of stores will reach 22% of total retail sales.

This means that despite some limitations of this type of retail outlets, as much as 1/5 of sales will be generated in them. Showing that the main customer needs are availability, speed and convenience, all of which are offered by “convenience” stores.

 

Convenience comes at a price

Convenience stores usually occupy a small area, at the same time giving the possibility to choose from a relatively wide range of grocery and household products, additionally providing postal and banking services as well as offering hot dishes and beverages. Such a connection makes the facility tight, the passages are narrow, and the possibility of accepting more customers is limited. An additional difficulty is the fact that convenience stores are usually operated by one employee who, in addition to receiving customers, has to control the goods on shelves, keep tidiness and manage office matters. Effect? Slow service, nervousness, growing queues additionally compounded by the lack of space inside the store.

 

Smart employee

Such places are perfect for modern self-service solutions, and that fact was properly used by SUNMI, who created the K2 MINI model offered by I’mRetail. This cash register is a compact, countertop or wall-mounted version of the flagship K2 device, adapted to the specific characteristics of small retail outlets, where minimalism and space saving play an important role. The implementation of even a single stand will significantly improve customer service, relieving the employee and taking over some of his duties. The result is faster flow of people, reduced queues that make it difficult to navigate through the store, better customer experience and greater comfort for the staff themselves.

In terms of functionality, the MINI version is not inferior to the full-sized version – K2. The changes that are visible at first glance are a 15.6” vertically oriented screen (instead of 22”), an optional second monitor for a store employee and the lack of an integrated table, but in terms of reliability and functionality, it is exactly the same device. Intuitive to use and equipped with all the necessary components – card payment system, barcode and QR code scanner.

 

A real convenience store

A convenience store should be quick, convenient and easily accessible. Unfortunately, with the growing number of customers, it becomes more and more difficult, and using such a place is often tiring and irritating. That is why it is very important to introduce changes that are brought by modern technology. One of them is the introduction of compact and smart self-service checkouts, which successfully accelerate customer service by fully restoring all the basic functions that we expect from every corner shop.

 

We invite all owners of this type of retail outlets to consider investing in technology that will allow them to stand out from the competition. We encourage you to contact our customer service department, which will analyze your business and select tailor-made solutions.

im retail blog 2021 05 en

Trends 2021: Automation and Ecology

The 21st century has become an arena of struggle between two seemingly opposite worlds. One of them is unstoppable technological progress, the development of modern industrial and digital solutions. The growing ecological awareness of the society becomes the other pole. The planet we live on is the most precious commodity we have, a good that is very easy to destroy, and impossible to rebuild. Both of these opposites are, however, an integral part of today’s life. So how to reconcile them? Is the growth possible without harming the environment?

 

Joined forces

It seems that the above-mentioned fight is not the only solution, and technological progress along with ecology can go hand in hand to improve condition of our precious, green house. Technology is not only about gloomy, smoking factories that pollute the atmosphere, rivers and soil. For many years, science has fought for the most effective ways to reduce the amount of poisonous waste, as well as the most productive use of renewable energy sources. More efficient wind turbines, photovoltaic panels and energy storage facilities are created. Chimneys are equipped with 21st century filters, capable of capturing a huge percentage of pollutants. So why is the Earth still struggling with the problem of climate warming, the greenhouse effect? At the moment, this is mainly due to the smallest elements of infrastructure – single-family houses, cars.

 

Green houses, green roads

For several years, however, we have seen an increase in the popularity of “green houses.” Co-financing programs are being developed for installations obtaining clean energy (photovoltaics), heat pumps, and thermo-modernization of buildings. The effects are immediately visible, both in households’ wallets, but also in the emission of pollutants caused by these buildings. It is estimated that the energy efficiency of houses equipped with such solutions increases by up to 50% compared to traditional ones. However, in order for these actions to have an impact on global changes, they need to be implemented on a huge scale.

The automotive industry also follows ecological trends and looks for solutions to reduce the emission of exhaust gases harmful to humans and the environment. More and more often, we meet hybrid or fully electric cars on the street, and even the traditional, internal combustion ones are being equipped with technologically advanced systems limiting emissions and purifying gases leaving the car’s exhaust.

 

Ecological automation

The automation of key stages of logistics processes, especially in the field of postal shipments, is also moving towards sustainable development that supports ecology. This is happening on several levels, however, smart parcel stations play a fundamental role in them.

From year to year, we observe a significant increase in the turnover of the e-commerce sector. Its effect is the constantly growing number of packages that have to be sent to their addressees. Only in 2020, partly due to the epidemic threat, over 25% increase in e-commerce sales was recorded. Moreover, experts predict that consumer habits will persist in this channel also after the crisis has ended.

Switching to this sales model requires advanced logistics, millions of kilometers traveled, thousands of liters of fuel burned while driving and during a stop necessary to deliver the shipment. All this translates into the emission of a large amount of harmful substances into the atmosphere, poisoning it, and indirectly all of us. In the traditional delivery model, it is necessary to deliver the parcel to each address, even if there is a small parcel or letter to be delivered. In addition, the absence of the addressee forces an additional delivery attempt, causing unnecessary tension on both sides. The use of parcel machines significantly reduces all the above-described inconveniences by limiting the courier’s route to specific centralized points without the need to visit many places.

 

The last mile can be green

How much does the use of parcel lockers improve the efficiency of deliveries at the “last mile” stage? According to the report “Analysis of parcel lockers’ efficiency as the last mile delivery solution – the results of the research in Poland” from 2015, delivery to automated parcel stations allows to make up to 10 times more shipments, while reducing the average distance traveled by the courier in one day from 150 to 70 kilometers. Such changes entail a 20-fold reduction in fuel costs per year, and the amount of carbon dioxide emitted during the process is reduced from 22.5 million tonnes to just 1.5 million a year. Such numbers make a colossal impression and show that the use of this type of devices has a very solid economic and environmental justification.

 

The future is here

In the era of prevailing ecological trends, the use of parcel lockers is justified, and their effectiveness in reducing pollutant emissions has been proven by numerous studies. Despite the fact that they have settled for good on the polish market, many industries still do not see their potential. With their help, you can carry out a very wide range of tasks, both postal and related to the provision of all kinds of services, the delivery of subscriptions, grocery shopping and more. It is certain that in the coming years we can expect a further increase in the share of these technologically advanced, yet easy to use devices.

 

If you want to participate in a technological revolution that will positively affect the natural environment and at the same time increase the sales of your traditional or online store. Contact us. Our specialists will find optimal solutions for you.

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Self-service solutions for retail

Retail is a very broad, diverse industry. It consists of outlets, shops, supermarkets, showrooms and other places for selling a specific offer of products and services. Each of these facilities is distinguished by a specific purpose, size, characteristics or organisation. These site-specific parameters are of great importance when planning the appropriate furnishings for premises. This also applies to self-service checkouts, each of which can perform optimally in a different location.

 

Prepared for every possibility

The experience gathered over the years of operating in the retail market allows us to properly assess the needs of the industry. We are aware of the different requirements of individual commercial and service premises, benefits or typical limitations of a given solution. That is why our offer includes cash registers adapted to the requirements of most typical stores and supermarkets.

 

Why is it worth to invest in Self-Service?

Research shows the beneficial effect of implementing self-service checkouts on sales and customer satisfaction. Shops equipped with this solution are more likely to be visited due to significantly smaller queues (waiting time reduced by up to 40%), more convenient service and recently also higher epidemiological safety. One example is the data prepared by Berkeley University of California, according to which the time of return on investment in self-checkout cash registers is only six months. This is due to increased sales and reduction of employee maintenance costs.

There are currently 3 standardized self-checkout models available. Additionally, for more demanding customers, we offer  more personalized solutions based on the SelfBox self-service checkout created by I’m Retail mother company – SelfMaker group. More about SelfMaker you can read HERE.

 

 

SelFormers – a hybrid revolution

We have already written more about the use of this unique cash register in the previous post on this blog (LINK). This device is a combination of a traditional and self-service cash register, packed in a simple, elegant shape that fits into any interior. Operation takes place through a 15-inch touch screen mounted in a way that allows you to turn it 180 degrees in the horizontal plane and change the angle of the vertical tilt. Thanks to this solution, SelFormers can be operated both by the cashier (similar to a traditional cash register) and by the customers themselves, who do not want to waste time waiting in line. An additional advantage is the strong orientation towards facilities for the disabled people.

 

SUNMI K2 – asian technology

For entrepreneurs looking for reliable, intuitive and modern self-service checkouts, we offer the K2 device. The cash register is produced by the Asian technology company SUNMI, also cooperating with such giants of the automation market as Xiaomi Corporation.

The distinguishing element of the SUNMI K2 is a large, 24-inch touch screen, which is responsible for operating the entire interface of the kiosk. The device is equipped with all the necessary components – card payment system, barcode scanner, QR code scanner and facial recognition. The slim design allows easy access and space saving. SUNMI K2 self-service checkout will be perfect for supermarkets as a supplement and support for the traditional checkout line.

 

SUNMI K2 MINI – the compact alternative

K2 MINI is a smaller version of the full-size K2 cash register, designed for convenience stores, which are currently flourishing. These type of shops are usually established in city centers, in the vicinity of public facilities or in housing estates. Their common feature is a small area and a relatively tight arrangement. Such characteristics require proper place management, focused on minimalism and space saving. The K2 MINI countertop checkout will be perfect in such conditions and will provide a much faster flow of customers, without unnecessarily taking up the not too impressive store space.

Regardless of which solution is chosen, each client can count on the support of the experienced team of I’m Retail. Present your business to us and we will develop the most beneficial solution for you.

Click HERE to contact our sales department.

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SelFormers – unique hybrid checkout

Each of us has been in a situation where the queue at the checkout was endless. The cart is full, you can’t see any movement, but you can definitely see the growing rage in the eyes of all the companions of this misery. Nevertheless, of the five checkout counters, only one is working at full speed. Finally, a hero appears, whose frustration has led to a sudden surge of courage. He exclaims: “Can you open a second checkout, please?”

 

Not very pleasant everyday shopping

Unfortunately, the above scenes are still commonplace in many Polish supermarkets, especially in several well-known chains of medium-sized food and industrial discount stores. The number of employees in a given shift is limited and there are many works to be done. Therefore, compromises and proper segregation of responsibilities are necessary. The result is a not appropriate number of working cashiers in relation to the customers waiting in the queue. The checkout counters themselves, despite the fact that they are numerous, are usually empty, because proper training is required to operate them.

 

 

How to improve service in retail?

It turns out that with the appropriate store infrastructure, each customer can become their own cashier and use registers that are not currently operated by an employee. The SelFormers hybrid checkout manufactured by the Polish company SelfMaker is a device that successfully replaces traditional cash registers, while being the most modern self-service checkout at the same time. Thanks to the reversible 15 inch screen, SelFormers can very quickly switch from cashier mode to self-service mode. This screen can also be tilted vertically, which allows convenient operation by customers of various height and by disabled people using wheelchairs.

These are not all the amenities of this type of cash register. The checkout software has been equipped with an increased contrast mode for the visually impaired. Deaf people also feel more comfortable when using this type of solutions, because it allows you to avoid awkward situations in contact with cashiers.

The equipment also includes a barcode scanner and a payment terminal. The whole thing is closed in an elegant, compact body.

 

 

Self-checkout vs. SelFormers

You could say that for a long time we have been encountering self-service checkouts in shops, and  that they also unload queues. It is true. However, their purpose is different. Usual self-service checkouts supplement traditional stands and are an addition to the existing infrastructure. You need to find a place for them, which is not always possible. SelFormers replaces traditional checkouts located at the checkout line, leaving the possibility of normal cashier service as before, but also allowing easy operation by the customers themselves. Moreover, the customers are eager to use this type of solution – approximately 77% of respondents declare that they are willing to use self-service checkouts in order to reduce the time spent in queue.

 

 

A real convenience

SelFormers is a revolution on the self-checkout market. A convenient and innovative solution, which is also financially attractive in comparison with the costs of implementing traditional cash registers accompanied by several self-service devices. The successful use of these kiosks can change the image of many retail outlets, what already started to happen. Some time ago, SelFormers cash registers were placed in Rossmann drugstore outlets in Warsaw, Lublin, Białystok and more. You can read about it on SelfMaker blog:

https://www.selfmaker.uk/press-release-rossmann-and-selfmaker-make-the-world-of-shopping-more-accessible/

 

Feel free to contact us regarding the implementation of SelFormers kiosks in your retail outlet: CONTACT

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A new era of self-service

Various forms of self-service shopping and services have been with us for a long time, but the last few years have greatly accelerated the development of this technological branch. Of course, such a turn of events can be seen in the increasing possibilities of today’s electronics, but also in a much more digitally educated society than a few years ago. The use of self-service systems becomes common and comfortable solution for a larger percentage of the society. However, what barriers still stand in the way of an even wider expansion of self-service devices? What is the way to overcome them?

 

The self-service paradox

 

The level of self-service that the entire industry is striving for should, in principle, eliminate the need for employees to interfere with customer service. This will ensure the speed and convenience of each transaction that has been unmatched so far, and at the same time will allow employees to shift to other tasks that require a non-standard or emotional approach. However, in order for the future to look like this, it is now necessary to intensify cooperation between the customer, seler and technology supplier. Self-service checkouts are still far from perfect, so it is essential to carefully listen to the needs of customers, because they are the only true reviewers of any such solution.

 

How to enter a new era? Intelligent

 

Research shows that as many as 75% of customers believe that the real problem with self-service kiosks is still the difficulties with operating them. The interface is sometimes unnecessarily complicated and opaque, which results in the need for frequent assistance of a store or restaurant employee. This problem is especially true for supermarket checkouts, which generate problems with the correct scanning of products. As a result, as many as 90% of consumers would like kiosks to intelligently support the process of scanning.

Solutions of this type are beginning to appear on a smaller scale in some retail chains or restaurants. Product recognition is performed using RFID chips or cameras connected to advanced artificial intelligence algorithms, as in the SelfMaker Selfbox AI cash register. In this way, improved smart checkouts can increase customer satisfaction through faster, intuitive and hassle-free operation.

 

Choose personalization

 

Another way to improve your self-checkout experience is to implement well-designed personalization algorithms. This option will be perfect for vending machines offering specialized products. One of the examples of that solution are kiosks with CBD-based products, created by Hemp Fusion, which can be found, for example at Atlanta airport. Before the release of the product, these machines provide the opportunity to go through a short path of questions aimed at determining the personal preferences of the consumer and adjusting the assortment to his expectations as precisely as possible.

 

Freedom of choice

 

However, in all your pursuit of the perfect self-service solution, you should never forget to leave a choice. Each of us represents different values, each has different priorities and needs. What in the self-service fever may seem like an obvious goal – speed, comfort and practicality do not always win over a strictly human and emotional approach. For many people, direct contact with another living being will always remain a priority.

Nevertheless, it is worth to constantly strive to improve the quality of self-service infrastructure, discover new opportunities, enter new paths and take full advantage of what modern technology gives us. Proper implementation of self-service checkouts, combined with properly allocated human capital, will allow you to attract and retain customers who want to settle the necessary matters quickly, without unnecessary difficulties and return to their basic duties. And this in a world dominated by constant rush will surely be appreciated.