Another NRF Big Show is now on the books, and Modern Retail reports it attracted upwards of 40,000 people from all over the world. NRF’s popularity is due, in part, to showcasing cutting-edge technology that will shape the future of retail. And the 2024 event didn’t disappoint. Not surprisingly, generative AI in retail was a popular topic, with innovators offering solutions for advanced ecommerce searches, content generation for marketing campaigns, data management, and intelligent customer service chatbots.
Also, Digital Commerce 360 reports that the NRF agenda confirmed that the line between online and in-store retail continues to blur. Retailers shared the success of initiatives like the Sam’s Club app that allows members to scan items and pay on their phones to skip the checkout line. Kohl’s also highlighted its success with accepting Amazon returns in its stores, and retailers reported their intention to emulate Shein and Temu by leveraging social media to influence purchases.
There’s little doubt that consumers are seeking and finding the path of least resistance to purchase the items they want and need, and that often involves using multiple channels and various devices to create the easiest, most convenient shopping journeys.
Payment Technology Evolution
As we predicted in our pre-NRF Big Show blog, the evolution of payments was also a theme throughout the show. Increasing engagement with consumers in new ways, bringing the online experience in-store, and expanding to new sales channels all require adapting checkout and payment processes.
As a result, the definition of the payments endpoint is expanding. Payment devices and PIN pads were traditionally the go-to tools for in-store payments. However, now, retailers can accept contactless payments directly on a smartphone with softPOS or complete transactions with biometric payments via facial or IR palm vein scan. The future of retail will also give consumers more opportunities to skip a formal checkout process and use smart carts or shopping baskets that track the items they select and charge their accounts when they leave the store, creating a frictionless shopping experience.
Overcoming the Challenge of Managing Payment Technology, Everywhere
The growing number of retail technology and payment devices that merchants use are providing the foundation or retail’s continuing digital transformation. However, it also raises some important questions, namely, how will you track, manage, monitor and secure it all?
Enterprise retailers can deploy thousands of devices intended to facilitate transactions. First, the value retailers get from that technology investment is directly tied to whether or not they work. Retailers must find a way to know which devices are in use in each location and confirm that they’re operational. An estate management solution gives you that visibility.
Estate management provides centralized management capabilities of devices enterprise-wide. One administrator can access data on all devices, including their precise location and the software they’re running. It also allows administrators to update devices remotely, rather than requiring stores to send devices for service. Additionally, a leading estate management tool enables remote terminal diagnostics and alerts. With this insight, IT teams can proactively identify devices that need service so the organization can avoid downtime.
In addition to managing and maintaining devices used for payments, retailers must also secure them. Estate management solutions facilitate device security by helping retailers meet PCI compliance requirements to asset tracking and documentation. Also, when standards change, the solution can identify which devices need to be updated or replaced to keep the business in compliance.
Prepare for the Future of Retail
With the number of payment devices, both traditional and innovative, growing to keep up with consumer demand for omnichannel and immersive retail experiences, forward-looking retailers will plan to not only deploy them but also to manage and secure them.
A scalable estate management solution may not have received the spotlight on the expo floor at the NRF Big Show, but it’s as essential, if not more essential, to the future of retail than bleeding-edge IT hardware and devices.
To learn more about our estate management solution designed to eliminate manual compliance reporting and asset management – and decrease the number of tickets related to payment device issues – contact us.