South Africa retailers embrace 2D tech

By ( IT WEB):

Retailers  in South Africa are adopting 2D scanning technology faster than other more developed economies. So says Enzo Capobianco, EMEA industry marketing manager for Honeywell, who notes that 2D scanning technology transforms the point of sale (PoS) into a point of service.

"In retail today, 2D technology is becoming the standard, thanks to the wide adoption of mobile couponing, mobile loyalty cards, and because of the need for traceability of food and small items," he says. "For example, in healthcare, 2D is already used to track medicaments and patients; for transportation and logistics, the use of QR codes and other mobile codes is slowly replacing the more traditional linear bar code."

In an interview with ITWeb, Capobianco noted that solutions are available that improve customer service by minimising checkout time and providing different payment options, including mobile PoS.

Boosting efficiency

Additionally, he said, solutions can be implemented that allow the adoption of 2D bar codes and new mobile marketing applications that provide a more personalised customer offering, such as mobile couponing, e-gift cards and mobile loyalty cards. When integrated in real time with checkout product and customer data, he added, 2D scanning technology allows retailers to improve the efficiency of their supply chains, maximise their customers' basket sizes, reduce stock-outs and increase their margins, ensuring they have the right products, at the right price advertised, with the right promotion, at the right store.


"Thanks to the availability of merchandising and inventory applications on mobile terminals, store associates are now equipped with the productivity tools and technologies needed to interact and engage with shoppers and offer a guided selling service including information such as pricing, product availability and tailored promotions," Capobianco said.

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He also explained that the use of imaging technology allows companies to capture more complex information included in a bi-dimensional code (2D) and is useful across a variety of industries.

Where 2D codes are becoming standard is in retail; this is being fuelled by the mass adoption of smartphones and the use of mobile marketing to engage with shoppers, he noted. "In fact, 2D codes are used by retailers to engage with their customers with personalised mobile couponing campaigns that offer a higher redemption rate, at a fraction of the cost required for traditional couponing and loyalty card programmes.

"Without 2D scanning technology at the PoS, you won't be able to read a 2D code on a smartphone LCD screen, and you won't be able to reap the benefits of mobile marketing such as shopper connection, increased campaign profitability and the reduced impact of the retail process on the environment. Just think about the millions of unsolicited paper coupons retailers send every day, or the millions of loyalty plastic cards printed across the globe. Today, 2D code technology can help make this experience better – in real time – for the customer. Statistics tell us that mobile marketing ROI is much higher than old-fashioned paper-based spamming."

He noted that, in a world where smartphones are becoming the remote controls of people's lives, people want access to information, goods and services in real time, anywhere and anytime.

The omni-channel ‘tsunami'

Capobianco believes the physical store will remain the main retail channel, but to survive the omni-channel "tsunami", it needs to adapt to the "connected shopper" and offer a seamless shopping experience.

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The challenges within the store are still the same: how do you eliminate queues at the checkout? How do you offer the same experience shoppers can have online or on their mobiles?

To address these issues, he said, Honeywell sees an increased demand for self-checkout solutions, mobile PoS systems and mobile solutions that empower store assistants.

With the help of technology, he concluded, customers enter the store and find a shop attendant who can help them through the entire shopping process, thanks to information available on a mobile terminal where she/he can access information about product features, promotions and stock availability.

"And when the customer is ready to make a purchase, the shop assistant can complete the transaction with the same terminal. This means no queue at the PoS, personal engagement with shoppers, and relevant information is provided from a connected store associate – making the shopping experience more enjoyable for all parties involved."