The road to the digital point of sale

About the author: 

Judith Hellhake heads the Centre of Excellence for SME 4.0 at the Institute for Trade Research (IFH) in Cologne. At industry events and trade fairs, she speaks on the topics of digital visibility, social media and the adjustment of business models to an ever changing environment.

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Digitalisation offers a wide range of opportunities, including for brick-and-mortar retail. The most important point of reference for all activities is whether it improves customer experience; it has been a long time since shopping was just about acquiring the things you need. Instead, it is about experiences, moments of surprise and a highly enjoyable visit to the store. If retailers want to continue being the first port of call for customers in the long run, then they need to cater to these demands. There are many approaches to reach this goal, one of which is digital point of sale.

From idea through to evaluation

There are many questions that arise along the way to having a digitally configured point of sale. What might a digital retail store look like? What do you need to watch out for when buying technical aids? The basis for being able to create added value for consumers and employees at the end of the day is a clear roadmap. This stretches from defining clear goals, to the planning and implementation phase, right through to the evaluation of the new measures. In order to be able to celebrate long-term success, it is essential to measure changes and channel the results into the next step. The project therefore takes the shape of a circular loop, not a one-way street. 

What does it really come down to?

The pilot phase is particularly important. This is where new approaches are first tried out within the framework of a test environment and, ideally, where they are evaluated by their eventual user group. It allows for not only the optimisation of the solution, but also for the interplay between technical components and employees to be fostered at the same time. Employees, and the accompanying advisory skills they bring, play a particularly important role when introducing new solutions for improved customer contact. After all, it is eventual users who can best challenge and then improve the processes that have been established. If all the different stakeholders are involved in the design, learning and implementation processes, there will be nothing left standing in the way of the successful configuration the point of sale. Sounds exciting? Well, it is!