The Retail Technology Show is always a highlight, but this year’s event was particularly special. For many of those attending, it was the first chance to reconnect since the pandemic. After two long years, we were thrilled to catch up with old friends, and to meet new customers in person for the first time.
Unsurprisingly, pandemic recovery dominated the agenda. But retailers were also looking further ahead. Stores will need to respond to the disruption of COVID-19, but also to the preexisting trends that it has accelerated. Here are our main three takeaways from the event, and what they mean for the future of VoCoVo:
1.Stores want to get the most out of their technology
We spent most of the show at our demonstration stand, and we noticed the same pattern over and over. Customers weren’t interested in a single product demonstration- they wanted to see the whole VoCoVo ecosystem in action.
This makes perfect sense. Stores have invested heavily in smart technology, and now they’re looking for a return on this investment. This means finding ways to make all of their devices work together. As the Internet of Things grows, we believe that our API will play a vital role in bridging the gap between smart devices and colleagues.
We used RTS to demonstrate how our headsets can be linked to smart CCTV cameras, Click & Collect lockers and more. Thanks to our API, all of these devices can send notifications directly to colleague headsets. In this way, we can add value to the technology that stores already have.
We also want to add value for our existing customers. We plan to spend the year checking in with stores and suggesting ways that they can get even more out of their VoCoVo ecosystem. This helps us too. Visiting stores allows us to spot innovative uses of our products, and to pass them on to everyone else.
2.The pandemic has created new security challenges
The pandemic has greatly accelerated the adoption of self-checkout. This hasn’t just happened in supermarkets, but in stores across the retail sector. Several major fashion brands have introduced self-service, and they have seen a steep rise in shrinkage as a result.
For the security teams in these stores, self-service shrinkage is a whole new type of crime to monitor and manage. Fortunately, this is another area where we can help. We spoke to many store managers at RTS about the ways in which VoCoVo can ease the pressure on security colleagues:
- Headsets can be integrated with smart CCTV to notify colleagues of suspicious behaviour
- Headsets can be linked to smart shelving to alert colleagues of unusual stock depletion
- Message cast allows head office to warn multiple stores at once if thieves are operating in their area
3.Customer care is more important than ever
As we heard throughout RTS, the retail sector is still struggling with colleague shortages and reduced footfall. This creates a vicious cycle. A shortage of colleagues increases waiting times and makes it difficult for customers to find help. This in turn makes it harder to attract more customers.
Colleagues need a way to do more with less. To provide a personalised service even when numbers are tight. We used RTS to demonstrate how our products can do just that:
- Colleagues can use headsets to find information for customers without keeping them waiting
- Call points allow customers to request help without searching for a colleague
- Keypads let checkout colleagues request assistance without holding up the queue.
We left this year’s show feeling energised. In fact, we were still buzzing a week later. There are big challenges ahead for retailers, but we believe that we are in a great position to help. By focusing on both new and existing customers, we can work together to come up with ever more efficient ways to improve the retail experience. Give us a call to find out more.