Tired of waiting in line? Mobile platform transforms the customer experience

Specialists in innovative point-of-sale solutions, Innowi created a mobile all in one POS/Payment device and platform based on the Windows 10 IoT Enterprise operating system and Microsoft Azure. Designed to reduce the time customers typically spend waiting in line, the solution includes a compact mobile device that can process orders and connect with back-end in store systems, cloud services, and payment processors. Designed for completing transactions within seconds from any location, the solution enables Innowi customers and merchants from multiple industries to improve sales and provide a more personalized end user customer experience.

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Business Insider: Walmart is eliminating the most dreaded part of holiday shopping

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Walmart wants to help shoppers avoid long checkout lines this holiday season.

For the first time, the company is giving employees in the busiest sections of its stores the power to use mobile devices to process shoppers’ purchases.

These employees will be able to swipe customers’ credit or debit cards and provide paper receipts using Bluetooth printers strapped to their waists.

It’s meant to allow shoppers purchasing a few items to bypass long lines at registers.

Walmart started testing the service, called Check Out With Me, in the lawn and garden departments of 350 stores earlier this year.

Walmart is also touting its newly updated website, which it says now features more curated content and an expanded assortment of products.

5 Mistakes To Avoid As A Small Restaurant Owner

Opening a new restaurant can be exciting. It’s like a dream come true for many people. The days leading up to the opening of your new restaurant can be very challenging and for good reason; There are so many crucial decisions to make. From curating the menu to selecting the furniture of your setup, the hiring of chefs to marketing. All this can be very daunting and time-consuming. 

But once it’s all done, you open the gates for your customers. It’s exciting and fun but according to a recent study, only 17% of new restaurants survive. The reasons for that are multifaceted and in this article, we are going to discuss 5 mistakes to avoid as a small restaurant owner. 

Mistake 1: Overspending

Making good use of the available capital is imperative. The last thing you want is to run out of cash before the furnishing is done. Costs can rise unexpectedly and things can be hard to manage. It’s always a good idea to do your research and add a buffer for every cost head.

Mistake 2: A Complicated Menu

When do people come to the restaurants? When they are hungry! They come to feed their hunger and the last thing they want is a complicated and confusing menu that makes them all cranky. Yes, you want to provide variety to satisfy various taste buds but it has to be presented on the menu in a very user-friendly way. However, what is more important is not the variety but the consistency of the food that you are offering because this ensures that people keep coming back.  Lastly, the larger and fancier the menu, your customer will consume more time deciding what to order which will lead to less table turnover and hence fewer profits for you!

One nice trick to make your menu simpler is to include a description under every dish. According to one study carried out by the researchers at the University of Illinois, adding such description can increase sales by up to 27%!

Mistake 3: Forgetting About Licenses

All businesses require a license to operate. And depending on which state you are in, you would require a restaurant license to avoid running into any sort of trouble. The path of obtaining a license is a strenuous and laborious task but it’s absolutely necessary that you obtain one. It ensures that you continue to operate without interruption. 

Mistake 4: Not Training Your Staff

The restaurant industry primarily is in the service sector of the economy. You are not just selling food but an experience. One crucial aspect of this service is your staff. They are the representatives of your restaurant. It does not matter how good your food is or how fancy the interior is but what really matters is the experience that your customers enjoy. This is where your staff comes to play. They are the ones interacting with the customers. They are the main link between the customers and the kitchen staff. The way they handle the customers will play a huge role in the retention rate. They should be polite, caring and considerate towards customers. And these soft skills should be taught by every restaurant owner out there. 

Mistake 5: Not Paying Attention To A Changing Business Climate

The one thing true about success is that it demands adaptability. The world around us is changing every day. If you want to stay at your A-game, you need to adapt and you adapt by being able to learn new things quickly. The restaurant industry is no different than our personal lives. You need to keep looking out for trends that improve the overall dining experience. 

And one important fact of our age is that millennials are dictating the culture of the restaurant industry. The millennial generation is expected to become the largest U.S. demographic in 2020, according to U.S. Census Bureau. They are tech-savvy and don’t shy away from embracing new things and hence, restaurants should embrace these trends too. 

There’s a lot of technology available today for restaurants to take advantage of. Innowi, a pioneer in an all in one powerful mPOS solution, for example, has a revolutionary mPOS device by the name of Model M. This device is a NexGen all-in-one device allowing everything from Mobile Point of Sale (POS) to Mobile Computing. It can run any Android or Windows software apps. According to a research study, 58% of diners prefer mobile payments when they are made available. 

Every restaurant should adopt these technologies in 2020 as this not only improves the dining experience but also improves their bottom line!

 Author: Muhammad Waqar Majeed

3 Hot Trends that will Transform Retail Stores in 2020

There was a time when every retail store was under threat from the rise of e-commerce. Amazon was taking on a centuries-old sector single-handedly. Customers can now order anything literally from the comfort of their homes and get it delivered within hours! (thanks to amazon prime). Despite this disruption in this brick and mortar sector, a good number of retail stores not only survive but in some cases are thriving! There are many reasons for that, and a lot has been researched and written on it. However, in my view, they serve two essential purposes that an online store lacks. 

  • Physical Traction: the idea of touching, feeling, trying products on, i.e., getting help or confidence in a purchase.
  • Social Experience: the memory or social delight of going outside.

You can disagree with these reasons, but the fact is these stores exist and are refining the overall customer experience. In this article, we are going to look at the three trends that are reforming retail stores.

 Mobile Checkout


Walmart, a global retail giant, recently equipped its stores with revolutionary mobile point of sale devices. These powerful devices look and feel like any other smartphone, but they are full-fledged mobile POS, able to accept all sorts of payments on the go. The age-old problem of checkout lines is being targeted with innovation in this area. Employees with this device can swipe customer’s debit or credit card and give them a receipt using a portable Bluetooth printer strapped on to their waist.

Walmart partnered with Innowi to implement this cutting edge technology. Innowi was founded on a philosophy of becoming a go-to solution for all the innovative, hi-tech, mobile experience for the POS industry. Innowi, Santa-Clara based startup, is a pioneer in mobile POS solutions and with its revolutionary device, Model M, aims to solve many problems in this area. These innovative devices have allowed retailers such as Walmart to bring the POS to the customer rather than forcing the customer to go to the fixed POS system terminals. By bringing the purchasing experience to the customer, the experience becomes more engaging and personalized.

 Robots

With advancements in robotics technology, the deployment cost is decreasing, and retailers have already started to invest in them. Walmart again, teamed with technology company Bossa Nova Robotics to scout its stores to find empty shelf spaces. When this robot scout finds an empty space it can inform workers to replace the exhausted items with boxes from the warehouse.

 Restaurants in stores

Restaurants in Retail stores is a trend again

Retailers know that the longer you keep shoppers in the house, the better it is for them. “People eat out more often than they shop for, say, a pair of shoes. So if you’re after increased traffic and increased frequency of use of your store, restaurants are the obvious solution,” restaurant consultant Michael Whiteman. Shopping in large retail stores have become part of our lifestyles, and it is more of a social destination than it used to be. Restaurants have identified this shift and are jumping on board.

Bottom Line

Renowned motivational speaker Brian Tracy who is also the author of the famous book, ‘Eat that frog,’ said, “In a time of rapid change, standing still is the most dangerous course of action.” Things in the retail industry are rapidly changing, and these are some of the hot trends that we believe will make significant headway in 2020. If you belong to the retail sector, this is the time to jump on the bandwagon and benefit from these trends. If you are an average consumer, anticipate some exciting things in this sector that will surely enhance your shopping experience!

Author: Muhammad Waqar Majeed

Fashion Retail trends that will leave you spellbound!

As smartphone usage in the world increases, shoppers are more likely to opt for online purchases. Mobile commerce conducted through smartphones will account for $117 billion in the U.S. alone this year, translating to about 23% of online retail sales and 3% of all retail sales, according to a new report by Retail Dive. 

While this may hold for grocery or food items, shoppers experience a bit of a dilemma when making outfit purchases online. The biggest reason being their inability to try on clothes physically. However, a lot of fashion retailers have identified this gap and tried to improve the overall in-store as well as online experience by digitizing it. Even if shoppers were to go and visit a physical store, if they are dissatisfied with their overall shopping experience, they lose interest in that brand altogether. Intelligent fashion retailers have taken cues from this and tried to enhance the shopping experience so much that in-store shopping experience has actually proven to be far more beneficial to them than online shopping. 

 

Interactive fitting rooms

The fact that a customer has stepped foot into your store instead of opting for online shopping means that he/she wants to try on the outfits and be really sure about the purchase. However, one common problem faced by in-store customers is the hassle related to trying on different products and asking the in-store associate to bring a different style/ size while standing in the fitting room, etc. 

Popular fashion retailers such as Macy’s and Ralph Lauren have come up with creative solutions for this consumer predicament. Both the fashion giants have experimented with the concept of interactive fitting rooms. The idea is to provide ease and convenience to the customer. The customer simply walks in the fitting room with the items to try on. On the interactive screen, the items are displayed with the help of RFID. An AI-enabled on-screen stylist comes up with suggestions or similar items that can be tried. Customers also have the ease of merely notifying an associate about a different style, size, or outfit with the help of the interactive touch screen. Thus, customers basically try on the clothes without having to sweep the entire floor for similar items or different sizes. This makes the whole experience so friendly and convenient that sales are guaranteed to go up. Ralph Lauren representatives state that their sales have increased threefold owing to the interactive fitting rooms.

Smart Apps

All big fashion brands have their personalized apps. These can be used not only for making online purchases but can also be used to complement the in-store experience. For instance, Macy’s has an app. When a customer walks in the store, he/she can scan an item using the in-app bar-code scanner to look for an item in a different color or size. This helps save time and makes the experience smooth. There is also an option of making the purchase online and picking it up later from the nearest outlet.

Augmented Reality

The concept of augmented reality has been there for a very long time; however, its applications in the fashion industry are now being explored. One such application is the use of augmented reality mirrors where the customer stands in front of the mirror to visualize how the outfit will look. Not only does this save time and effort, but it also makes for a pretty pleasant experience.

Transform your in-store experience without going bonkers!

There is bound to be a technology disruption in the future of fashion retail. Digitizing your in-store experience as well as enabling a seamless online/ in-app experience is essential to increase your bottom line. However, it is understandable that the kind of technology that big fashion retailers are using is expensive. 

For smaller fashion retailers or brands that want to experiment with technology, Innowi offers a tailor-made solution. Innowi offers Model T, which is designed to reduce checkout lines as well to enhance the customer experience. Instead of having entire fitting rooms, fashion brands can have the model T mounted inside the fitting rooms. The idea is to bring the products to the customer without him/ her having to navigate the store. The tablet can have a layout of the store to navigate each section smoothly. Moreover, it can be mounted inside the fitting room for the customer to choose the product he or she wants. Furthermore, a change in size/ style can also be selected and communicated to an in-store associate who can be notified instantly using the device. Moreover, the software can be tweaked so that it is interactive and able to suggest outfits/ similar styles based on the customer’s trial history. 

This type of solution is scalable as opposed to being restricted to a few stores, owing to the inexpensive technology. Millennials are tech-savvy shoppers, and providing an AI-enabled seamless shopping experience is a sure-shot way of boosting brand awareness as well as profitability.

Author: Shazra Irfan