2015 is set to be known as a year of innovation within the US retail industry. With many different technologies making their way into this long-neglected space, consumers are set to be given a level of choice, security and usability that has hitherto been mostly impossible.
That this is the case is in part due to the phasing out of the old magnetic strip method of securing bank account information. As is the case with any security technology, the longer it exists, the longer that criminals have to crack it. Following adoption of the EMV (Europay, Mastercard, Visa) standard, US retailers who fail to offer chip and pin as a means by which to validate card information and ownership will automatically assume greater liability in the event of credit card theft.
Aware of this change, a number of OEMs are to offer new hardware to retailers that allows them to adopt this standard while moving their business even further forwards. Panasonic is among these, and has announced its first tablet-based mobile EMV-compliant Point-of Sale (POS) solution for retailers, due to be released soon.
FreedomPay has also announced the Freedom Pay Commerce Platform, which runs on the Azure Cloud and works with EMV-certified devices and PCI Validated Point to Point Encryption to safeguard customer data. In addition to allowing enhanced security for the consumer, the retailer interact more fluidly with the customer, allowing more engagement as the purchase is completed.
Using FreedomPay's platform the new HP ElitePad Retail Case offers the best of both world to both staff and consumers alike. Colleagues can walk around the store with their tablets to provide information to customers, these tablets can then be docked with the base device turning once again into a full checkout.
As the number of suppliers offering such devices to retailers increases, it can be expected that some adoption will follow, even if at a slightly slower pace.
Hardees has also announced a change in the way in which it operates, following a pilot scheme which is currently running. The Dell Optiplex 3030 All-in-One devices are currently being deployed as a series of self-order kiosks by the chain, running across 30 restaurants throughout the US. One restaurant in Nashville has been featured, having been redeveloped with a kiosk-focused arrangement, allowing customers to take charge of their experience like never before.
Tracey Issel, general manager of Worldwide Retail, Consumer Goods, Hospitality and Travel at Microsoft, states,
"Hardee’s is changing the way it interacts with its customers, making the ordering process more streamlined, personal and fast. This is just one example of how Microsoft is giving retailers new ways to reinvent the customer experience."
Tom Lindblom, senior vice president and chief technology officer at CKE Restaurants, goes on to say,
"Our target market of young, hungry millennials, as well as younger and older customers, love the new ordering kiosks. The self-ordering kiosk gives the customer a fun, interactive and user-friendly way to control their order. At CKE, we understand that customer expectations are changing quickly, and our relationship with Microsoft allows us to enhance the restaurant experience and better serve our customers’ needs and expectations."
The coming year will prove to be one of change, both for consumers and retailers, whether these developments will see widespread adoption is yet to be seen, this is just one more example of how technology can influence developments in favor of the consumer, as well as the consummate capitalist.
How does the implementation of technology in-store affect your shopping experience? Let us know in the comments below.