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Augmented commerce, retail trends for 2021

While unified commerce has been the focus of all retail projects in recent years, the health crisis has fuelled new uses among customers who cannot shop (development of e-commerce, the advent of contactless payments, etc.).
The development of these behaviours has stepped up the roll-out of a number of projects launched by brands (click&collect, etc.).

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Julien Masquelier and Vincent Lenglet, both retail product managers at PEBIX-AVEM (AVEM Group) and MONEXT respectively, have broken down the four retail trends for 2021 for us.

  1. The augmented vendor

Robust short-term trends, including clienteling tools intended to support the sales representative in the sale and in the value of personalised advice, have become essential. Points of sale which succeed in making customers, rather than products, the focal point with this type of technology are recording the best results. Via a tablet or PDA, the sales representative enjoys real-time access to all information concerning product ranges, complementary items to achieve upselling and customer data, etc. Access to all the brand’s stocks also creates opportunities by providing, for example, store-to-web, e-booking, click & collect, ship from store solutions, etc.

  1. The augmented consumer

Positioned strategically in the shopping pathway, self tools (scan & go, automatic checkouts, etc.) bring about satisfaction for the 21st century consumer who is increasingly connected, efficient and in search of autonomy. With Scan & Pay, it is now possible to scan items with a smartphone and pay in-app, thereby avoiding the enrolment of conventional scan & go tools and the checkout process. In addition, chatbots which are usually limited to e-commerce are now being rolled out in-store to advise customers in a hurry when a sales representative is unavailable. This solution even includes a payment module, so purchases can be paid for directly in the conversation.

  1. The augmented point of sale

In support of the aforementioned mobile solutions, the point of sale also has a role to play. Much more than a storage space or a showroom, it is now the link between e-commerce platforms and all the brand’s physical points of sale. The brand must meet major logistics challenges, paying special attention to achieving the right level of stocks and their location in order to guarantee an optimal level of service. To meet this challenge, RFID technology has proved to be effective as it enables single traceability of a product and ensures a smooth shopping pathway and checkout process.

  1. Augmented payments

The source of many tensions, payment is an essential and complex factor in the shopping pathway. In a constant move towards seamless payments, innovations are rolled out regularly. Mobile payments will pass another milestone in 2021 with the launch of Tap on Phone. This enables merchants to receive contactless payments directly in the aisles via Android tablet or smartphone, with no ceiling and with a strong authentication for amounts exceeding €50, thereby cutting down checkout queues. This technology may even ultimately completely replace conventional payment terminals! Where checkouts remain necessary points of contact, for example for perfume stores and their strategic distribution of samples, payments by QR code or Pay by Link are preferable.


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