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Shop and eat – why US retailers need to enhance their legacy POS to integrate food and beverage

Posted by Omnico on Feb 5, 2020 11:59:52 AM

The old divisions between retail, work, eating and snacking are disappearing. Witness the growth of in store coffee shops and exciting pop up food stalls, or the trendy staff cafeterias open to anyone regardless of where they work.

Habits are changing. Across many retail locations in the U.S. the growth of the experience economy is blurring lines. Shoppers regard eating and drinking as integral to the retail experience, while increasing numbers of workers expect their requirements to be met quickly and easily when they are hungry.

Convenience is everything. Omnico research among 2,000 U.S. consumers last year (2019) found unhappiness soon increases when expectations are not met. More than nine-in-ten consumers admit to getting frustrated when they are shopping, with waiting in line the biggest single source of annoyance. Yet it’s also clear that if a food and beverage outlet, quick service restaurant (QSR) or food service company embraces app and kiosk technology, it is more likely to win over potential customers and boost order values.

The vast majority (92 percent) of consumers surveyed said they are ready to use kiosks for payment and more than half (52 percent) can see that paying at a self-service kiosk will improve their whole experience. Nearly as many (86 percent) are ready to adopt apps that scan and pay for packaged food and drinks.

More than half (51 percent) say they are likely to use a cell phone app or kiosk to order ahead what they want. Other research by Omnico has found that average order values for cafeterias and QSRs can be as much as 40 percent higher with order ahead capabilities. It’s the power of convenience.

Food and beverage operators with POS systems such as IBM/Toshiba 4690 can enhance their systems to be part of this convenience revolution. Once they have integrated more advanced customer engagement software, order values rise substantially. Order ahead technology means consumers can choose what they want, where they collect it and the time. And by using order ahead via app or kiosk, they start accumulating loyalty entitlements. Advance order capabilities also help food and beverage operators smooth out peaks and troughs in demand and cut down on food waste.

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All these benefits are achievable through relatively straightforward POS augmentation. Far from requiring major replacement or renewal of IT infrastructure, highly flexible customer engagement solutions simply “plug in.” They enable operators to deploy kiosks and to provide dedicated cell phone apps with functionality that is irresistible to consumers. By analyzing all transaction data, these solutions provide the fuel for loyalty programs, including highly personalized offers and discounts based on individual customer preferences and habits. Our same Omnico research found 69 percent of consumers are likely to join a loyalty scheme if it is integrated into an app that enables payment.

If food and beverage providers, within large retail stores, are ready to enhance the POS systems they have already used successfully over relatively long periods, they can more than meet the changed expectations of shoppers and diners and lock in substantial revenue gains.

For over 25 years Omnico has been helping major retailers and resort organisations enhance the capability of their IBM/Toshiba 4690 Point of Sale (POS) systems. We understand that today’s independent retailers running 4690 solutions need to find new ways to enhance the customer experience and remain competitive in the face of global retailers and an ever-challenging market.

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