How to ensure the reopening of the stores?

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It’s the end of the lockdown and the downtown stores and shopping malls are reopening but many questions remain unsolved. Our retail sector experts at ESII, Alain Lerfel and Geoffrey Haas, review and try to answer these questions.

Q- How feel the shopkeepers in this time of end of the lockdown?

“Many of them don’t know how to reopen safely. Are they going to manage the reception strictly in order to have one customer at the time in the store and offer a one to one experience? But what about the ROI? Maybe in the short-term few of them can do that, but in long-term the operation is not profitable for everyone.”
“The second option is to reopen more widely while respecting the number max of customers in the store recommended by the health regulation in effect. What about the motivation of the customer to come in? No one can say for now.”

Q- We have memories of long queue lines in front of stores. What is the answer to avoid that?

“It’s a major concern of our customers. The limit of the reception capacity of each store is moving depending the size and the location. It can change at any time! The impact on the activity is not the same if you are a shopping mall outside the city or a local store downtown.”
“At ESII, we understood quickly that to avoid queue line driven by a large crowd of customers in a store, we have to digitalize this queue by offering a reception on appointment. In short, we say to customers: you can wait at home, you don’t loose time and you respect the health regulations much better. To those who are already here, we offer to take a digital ticket and to come back right before to enter.”
“Concretely, with our SaaS solution Orion, we offer to take a virtual ticket that allows the customer to book a time slot with his smartphone on the store website. He comes at the right time, and the staff just has to check the ticket. And here we are: no queue, no crowd!”
“No worries about the customer that doesn’t check the website before to come. He finds a QRCode to scan with his smartphone in front of the store. He can take a ticket and we give him an estimated waiting time. He is free to wait where he wants, in his car for example. When it is his turn: a notification on his smartphone and he can come in.”
“Here you have a 100% contactless reception without queue line!”

Q- Aren’t we excluding people without smartphone or less comfortable using technology?

“Yes, we have to think about that, because if technology is in the heart of the reopening process, it can’t be an excluding factor. Our answer is: don’t trash your interactive kiosks! First, they can be washed and sanitized. Second, they can distribute paper tickets or text message tickets. Everyone can join the digital queue line.”

Q- We don’t have queue line in front, but inside the store?

“For the shopping malls, managers drive the customers with a direction flow to avoid physical contact. Sore points remain: the checkout process and the deli counters.
“For the checkout process most of our customer select the single line. The main advantage is that people are well organized in a specific space. If you put marks on the floor, you guarantee physical distancing. At each checkout, when a customer is paying the next one is called to unload his cart.
“For the deli counters, it’s a bit early to say which solution is the most selected. We offer 2 solutions: the single line, of course, and a more traditional ticket with call by a video screen. This system is well known by the customers, that is a great advantage. To make the use easier, we pushed the concept as far as we can with a solution we call “deli counter journey”. On a same kiosk or with his smartphone by scanning a QRCode, a customer selects every counter he wants to go to. We give him a single paper, digital or text message ticket for every counter. His time is optimized, he stays less in the store and waits less.

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