By Craig Kaliebe, Business Development Manager, APG Cash Drawer
In the blink of an eye, the COVID-19 outbreak caused massive upheaval in the retail industry. As retailers look beyond the lockdowns and stay-at-home directives necessitated by the pandemic, some of the technology changes and investments implemented in a hurry will likely be permanent.
Many retailers and restaurants have implemented curbside pickup out of necessity, and the practice is sure to continue post-pandemic. Omnichannel strategies, which retailers have been flirting with in recent years, are likely to get a boost as storeowners see an increase in click-and-collect business. Research conducted in recent weeks shows that retailers and restaurants also are planning to boost investment in digital marketing and personalization strategies – the building blocks of omnichannel programs.
For instance, 54% of restaurants see investments in customer data initiatives as their top technology priority. They are also planning to spend in areas such as improving digital customer engagement, business and customer analytics, and enablement of seamless orders across all channels. This requires a holistic view of inventory both online and in physical stores.
According to a RIS News survey, the biggest investments post-pandemic will be in-home delivery (38%), curbside pickup (22%), and contactless payment (22%). In comparison, warehouse automation is projected to account for only 6% of overall investment. This is likely partly a result of maturation in warehouse automation, but it wouldn’t be surprising if retailers are redirecting some money away from it to focus on more immediate needs.