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Get Digital Receipts at No Cost with Veras CheckOut 11.1

Contactless Receipts with Veras CheckOut 11.1

Get Digital Receipts at No Cost with Veras CheckOut 11.1

January 19, 2021

The recent release of Veras CheckOut 11.1 includes exciting new enhancements, along with the integration with our trusted partner flexEngage. Upgrade to our modern POS platform and you’ll receive free* contactless receipts.

Veras CheckOut 11.1, as well as the Veras Extend mPOS and self-checkout modules, now integrate to the flexEngage digital receipt platform. The flexEngage integration uniquely supports real-time personalized offers at the point-of-sale. Seamless digital receipt process flows allow for known customer preferences to be more quickly and consistently applied in the transaction. Now when you implement Veras CheckOut 11.1, you’ll receive free* digital receipts through flexEngage’s Essential plan.

Turn Purchasing Data into Meaningful Contact

flexEngage is a POS marketing service that delivers custom-made transactional messages, which reduce customer churn for brand-driven retailers.

Offering several levels – Essential, Pro, and Enterprise – find the right tier for your customer outreach and loyalty goals to best fit your needs.

FREE* ESSENTIAL TIER BENEFITS

Front-end features that are complementary in flexEngage’s Essential tier include barcode, clickable logo sent to your domain, PDF attachment, and the added benefits of:

  • Contactless Experiences
  • Increased Email Adoption
  • Reduced Paper Costs
Services-Oriented, Future-Proof Platform

With the flexEngage integration on CheckOut’s omnichannel platform, retailers can continue to drive innovation, offer better customer experiences, and unlock additional responsive technologies and capabilities. 

flexEngage digital receipts

From enhancements to a complete upgrade, Veras provides a clear migration path to modernize your POS platform with Veras CheckOut. Highly adaptable to support a variety of deployment models including on-prem, cloud or hybrid deployments, the platform’s microservices API layer shares business logic across an array of endpoints. From traditional POS to mobile selling to retail kiosks, our proven enterprise architecture allows retailers to innovate faster, and at lower TCO.

Veras CheckOut also helps the store become an extension of your omnichannel strategy to provide a suite of cross-channel and cross-store selling capabilities.

VERAS EXTEND PLATFORM. Extend brings the point-of-sale and mobile selling to customers in-aisle or offsite. Extend goes beyond checkout to enable mobile for inventory, clienteling, unified product search, price checker and self-checkout.

VERAS AFFINITY CLIENTELING. Affinity help retailers connect online and offline data with store initiatives and empower their associates with a 360-degree view of the customer. Unlike any other clienteling solution, direct associate input strengthens the data and trains the AI to make smarter recommendations to drive sales.

VERAS REMOTE SELLING. Remote Selling allows retailers to personalize and connect with shoppers virtually. Unlike Facebook or Zoom, our end-to-end experience is trackable, integrated, and consistent. From initiating the virtual appointment, to sharing rich product details, and building the basket all the way through purchase—Veras Remote Selling helps retailers stay connected even at a distance.

Plus, additional features referred to as “FIGI” (“Find It, Get It”), encompass all of the following business scenarios through Veras CheckOut:

  • Send Sale. Collect and track shipping information for items sold in-store and shipped to the customer.
  • Charge Send. Save the sale using “endless aisle” of enterprise inventory. Sell merchandise at POS and ship to the customer from any store or warehouse in a single POS transaction.
  • Remote Pickup. Locate inventory in any location from any point of sale (including ecommerce or call center) and pickup in store.
  • Ship-to-Store. Buy online from warehouse inventory and pickup at store.
  • Storage Buy. Buy bulk/heavy items and collect them later from storage location in the same store.
  • Buy Online, Pickup In Store. Buy items online or in a different retail location and collect them later.

With the right strategy, point-of-sale systems can be a powerful business enabler. At Veras, we recognized a market need for a flexible, cost-effective, and lightweight platform that can rapidly scale and shift to meet the shopper—how and where they want to shop. That’s what you’ll find in our unified retail platform, which looks at every point of interaction as an opportunity to connect, understand, and sell to the customer.

Take advantage of flexEngage’s exciting digital receipts offer!
Contact us to see how upgrading to the Veras CheckOut platform can help simplify retail operations and deliver the ultimate shopping experience.

* Some add-on services may incur additional costs, such as third-party survey integration.

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Curated Collections & Virtual Selling

A WINNING COMBO: CURATED COLLECTIONS & VIRTUAL SELLING

January 6, 2021

The powerful combination of curated collections paired with the convenience of your very own virtual stylist will forever change how consumers shop.

The reality is people have changed how they live, work, and shop, and many of these newly formed habits are here to stay. For retailers, many of those nice-to-have capabilities like curbside pickup, self-checkout, and appointment-driven shopping have quickly shifted to become must-have experiences. And not only have retailers responded at breakneck speed to provide safer and smarter ways to shop, but they’ve also adopted technology to create new shopping channels and revenue streams.

One such technology is clienteling, which has evolved dramatically in the last several years. Initially, clienteling was adopted by sales people as an effective method to establish long-term relationships with key customers based on details about their preferences, behaviors, and purchases. Much of this was managed manually and kept locally in a literal “black book”.

With digitalization and automation, retailers now have the ability to capture omnichannel customer data. Clienteling solutions like Veras Affinity help retailers connect online and offline data with store initiatives and empower their associates with a 360-degree view of the customer. But with in-store foot traffic greatly reduced, Veras Affinity clienteling is helping retailers stay connected even at a distance with AI-driven recommendations and complete collections curated by a savvy virtual shopper.

Veras Affinity Remote Selling & Style Builder

Remote or virtual selling is an effective tool, often doubling customer engagement and employee productivity at lower costs. Like ecommerce and brick-and-mortar stores, remote selling is evolving into a dynamic channel of its own. Remote selling helps associates actively connect with shoppers that aren’t going into the store and connect with new shoppers that may not typically shop with you online. Ultimately, it’s about elevating your sales experience with meaningful data and a digitally engaged audience.

For most retailers, your employees often are your best customers and brand ambassadors. According to ExpertVoice, 86 percent of sales associates say the best reward for giving a recommendation is sharing their passion and expertise for customer satisfaction — not a commission.

With Style Builder, you can put your sales associates’ passion to work by using their input into product recommendations to improve the AI/ML engine behind it. Veras Style Builder’s curated collections paired with remote selling offers the next-generation of clienteling. It allows users to build and sell styles several ways.

Complete looks. Create or view product options to complete a look centered around a common theme. Multiple products from different categories are selected to form a complete vision for this look with rich product images and details.

Complementary collections. Find items that go well together based on the shopper’s preferences and build a full collection around it. This creates an opportunity to find new items for the customer to complete their personal collection.

Similar products. Easily find product recommendations that can be substituted for one another and with the ability to personalize recommendations. Associates use their store knowledge and direct interaction with the customer to fine tune the selections to enhance the AI.

Style Builder can be used across a number of retail verticals to deliver high-touch, one-on-one experiences with the convenience and safety of the client shopping from home. For home goods stores, associates can create room collections based on different styles or room décor. Flooring retailers may have their design consultants present complete looks that are trending and share directly with customers.

And for retailers that have in-store events like DIY or tasting events, Style Builder with Remote Selling brings that experience to the customer to not only drive revenue, but to keep your brand top of mind.

AI Still Needs Human Input

Veras Affinity’s AI/ML algorithms combine sales associate feedback with mutliple customer data streams, including online and in-store purchases, social media, customer support activity, and more to provide a highly personalized experience.

On top of algorithmic recommendations, Veras Style Builder still relies on humans to train and fine-tune the machine learning models. Even with the most successful AI, the human touch is critical in all the ways it’s being adopted today. Without it, every word, recommendation, or output has a fairly logical yet just-missed-the-mark effect that lacks authenticity.

That’s why Style Builder applies a model in which human and algorithmic curators coexist to help one another. Together, Affinity’s AI learns and gets smarter from the store associate’s inputs — and gets better at executing over time. This is especially true when getting structured feedback from the field for new items that don’t yet have significant customer purchase history behind them. Leveraging store staff to get input on new products can help set meaningful recommendations in place quickly.

Consumers are fundamentally changing the way they shop. Contact us to learn how Veras solutions can empower your staff to radically personalize and connect with shoppers virtually or in person.
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Dark Stores are Shining a New Light on Retail

Dark Stores are Shining a New Light on Retail

November 23, 2020

Retailers are leveraging their stores along with ecommerce to drive more sales and faster service. How? They’re going dark.

As consumers expect more from what they can access, schedule for pickup, or get delivered to their doorsteps, retailers have come under tremendous pressure to make more products readily available. According to the latest figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, ecommerce sales increased nearly 45 percent year-over-year in the second quarter to reach more than 16 percent of total sales. 

To fulfill an ever-growing list of holiday orders while continuing to deliver the right product, fastest service, and highest-quality customer experience, dark stores are providing much-needed relief for retailers and their shoppers. A dark store refers to a retail distribution center that is dedicated solely to fulfilling online orders. It’s typically a warehouse or repurposed store used to pack up online orders, which have skyrocketed during the pandemic.

Today, the model has evolved with new technology to help a variety of retailers from home goods to hypermarkets to use dark stores as local fulfillment centers to facilitate buy online pickup in store (BOPIS) and delivery. Similar to ship-from-store fulfillment, dark stores can enhance a retailer’s overall physical layout and logical workflows to accommodate optimal picking routes and capacity.

Retailers like Target and Walmart started testing ship-from-store fulfillment before the pandemic. Jewelry retailer Kendra Scott, when forced to close their doors at the height of the pandemic, used a ship-from-store strategy to turn their 108 closed stores into micro-fulfillment centers in just a few weeks.

In recent months, Home Depot, Whole Foods, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Apple have all shifted to add dark stores for online orders or converted existing stores to permanent micro-fulfilment centers.

Demand for Dark Store Capabilities

According to a September Accenture survey, nearly 80 percent of U.S. shoppers want their purchases delivered directly to their homes.

Ship from store or from dark store provides lower cost, high-speed delivery options to help achieve this by distributing the capabilities of warehouses closer to shoppers. By optimizing the picking process and leveraging staff at select stores, retailers can create responsive ecommerce fulfillment centers.

7 BENEFITS OF A SHIP FROM STORE OR DARK STORE FULFILLMENT STRATEGY:

  1. Expose and move more inventory. Ship from store exposes on-the-shelf, brick-and-mortar inventory to a larger online market. Rather than warehousing ecommerce inventory in a location that is isolated from stores and store inventory isolated from online markets, ship from store shares inventory across a retailer’s locations.
  2. Efficient inventory management. Ship from store requires better inventory management. With the adoption of technology in the load, store and pick stages, retailers are better able to increase the number of units that are delivered along with more efficient operations.
  3. Greater availability. As dark store operations are dedicated to fulfilling orders that are made online, they have a much clearer view of stock levels which results in better product availability than a pick-in-store fulfillment solution.
  4. Additional capacity. Having the flexibility to adjust and deal with volume is important. By shifting a fulfilment center to high-volume markets or having a small fulfillment center in a remote location, give retailers the ability to pick goods, pack, and deliver in areas with high order density or specific needs.
  5. Increased hours of operation. Unrestricted by regular store hours, dark stores can operate around the clock to fulfill demand. Orders can also be delivered faster and at the most convenient times for customers.
  6. New goods and new markets. Dark stores expose ways for retailers to sell new merchandise that shoppers would not typically find in their stores due to space limitations. It also gives retailers the ability to launch operations in new markets without having to open a traditional brick and mortar location.
  7. On-demand delivery. Shoppers welcome having any number of products delivered to their door in minutes. Delivery platforms like Uber, DoorDash, Roadie and Shipt, just to name a few, are helping to provide that instant gratification. A well-placed dark store along with these services can help retailers ensure demand is met while delivery times are kept to an all-time low.
Veras Locate for Dark Store Fulfillment

Veras Locate’s lightweight, easy-to-deploy architecture and efficient order picking allows retailers to meet these challenges without breaking the budget on costly, overly complex warehouse management systems. Moreover, Veras Locate addresses multiple fulfillment use cases to make the best use of resources across stores, warehouses, and offices.

Ultimately, Veras Locate delivers a comprehensive solution to optimally locate, pick, ship, and restock inventory to meet the needs of the cross-channel shopper through:

  • Real-Time Inventory Availability. Many ERP and ecommerce systems rely on batch inventory updates that can’t readily expose the available inventory data for real-time requests. However, Locate can expose the data at any level and to any system.
  • Ship from Store or Dark Store. Successfully compete with ecommerce players by maximizing the impact of your stores. Optimize the picking process by leveraging staff at every store, or select stores, to create responsive ecommerce fulfillment centers.
  • Detect, Replenish, and Move Inventory. With real-time POS integration, alert stores of out-of-stock items on the floor and replenish on the fly from the backroom or off-site storage. From managing backroom inventory to speed customer service or aiding satellite stores to move inventory from a shared location, Locate gets the product in hand to the customer.
  • Easy and Efficient BOPIS. Veras Locate gives the store quick visibility to inventory position for picking the BOPIS order, as well as audible and visual alerts that let associates know they’re falling behind to better prioritize orders and ensure they’re ready for pickup.

Entering the holiday season, we anticipate these dark stores will be bustling around the clock with order fulfillments. And as we look ahead to once the pandemic has settled, it’s certain that shoppers who have experienced fast delivery, BOPIS, or curbside pickup will likely keep some of these shopping habits moving forward.

From streamlining processes to automating order fulfillment, we’re ready to help support your entire dark store strategy.

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It’s Time to Embrace Virtual Selling

Add the personal experience, connection & excitement back to retail that your shoppers crave

October 22, 2020

Virtual selling is far more than a trend, and considerably more than sales associates interacting on Facebook or Zoom.

As consumers are anxious about their finances and health ahead of the holiday season, according to Deloitte’s September consumer report, the uncertainty in our economy is causing U.S. shoppers to spend less. Unsurprisingly, the report also reveals that 60 percent of consumers are concerned about the health of their families leaving them anxious about spending time in stores.

While the heightened safety requirements for both retail workers and their customers have accelerated to promote more contactless interactions like curbside pickup, buy online pickup in store (BOPIS), and self-checkout — but what if shoppers don’t step into the store?

When consumers were asked how they planned to get through their holiday shopping and to-do lists this season, here’s how they responded:

  • 65 percent will shop online to avoid crowds
  • 48 percent will avoid malls
  • 69 percent will shop in stores closer to home
Veras Affinity Remote Selling

Now is the time to embrace remote or virtual selling. With remote selling, your organization can double customer engagement, productivity, and speed at lower costs by enabling remote selling teams. Sure, you can continue use Facebook or Zoom, but the experiences provided on these platforms are not trackable, personalized, integrated or consistent. While they help provide a quick fix to connect with shoppers, they’re hardly retail-focused and let’s face it, your customers expect more.

Here are some compelling benefits of our in-app remote selling experience:

  • CONTROLLED ENVIRONMENT. The opportunities for abuse are greatly reduced and there is no need to worry about app downloads or platform compatibility.
  • INTEGRATED TO THE SELLING PROCESS. In addition to having visibility into past purchases, recommendations can be converted to purchases, saved to their wish lists or added to their omnichannel cart.
  • KNOW THE CUSTOMER’S INTERESTS. Whether they’re planning for an upcoming event or remodeling an entire room, keep track of their preferences and products as they build out various collections.
  • BEST OF ECOMMERCE. Take the immediacy and convenience of ecommerce combined with the high-level service and personal touch of a knowledgeable sales associate.

In this Veras Affinity Remote Selling demo, take a closer look as we step you through how the associate:

  • Initiates the remote selling conversation at the appointed time
  • Shares rich product details and available promotions
  • Builds the basket all the way through to purchase
Give your associates the tools they need to foster stronger customer relationships, increase engagement, and drive revenue.

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COVID-19 Sparks Self-Checkout Adoption

COVID-19 Sparks Self-Checkout Adoption & Other Contactless In-Store Technology

May 7, 2020

The heightened safety requirements for frontline retail workers and their customers have intensified to promote more contactless interactions like self-checkout—and other in-store technology.

The launch of self-checkout systems that initially freed shoppers from what they disliked most, long checkout lines, may soon be viewed as essential in-store technology. The evolution towards self-checkout and cashless payments has been underway for decades.

The first supermarket self-checkout system called ‘the service robot’ was installed in 1992 in the Price Chopper Supermarket in New York by inventor Dr. Howard Schneider. By 2003, self-checkout systems had become widespread across the U.S. And now with over 240,000 self-checkout devices installed around the world, the self-checkout systems market size is expected to reach 7.8 billion USD by 2027, according to Grand View Research.

A Change in Self-Checkout Sentiment

COVID-19 has only accelerated the adoption of self checkout along with clear evidence in changing consumer habits. In a December 2019 survey from Bizrate Insights conducted just prior to the pandemic taking hold:

  • 47 percent (nearly half) of respondents said they use self-service checkouts regularly
  • 31 percent said they have used it before, though not as frequently
  • Only 2 percent of respondents didn’t know what self-service checkouts were
Self-checkout survey

Fast forward to today, an astounding 87 percent of U.S. shoppers prefer to shop in stores with touchless or robust self-checkout options. The survey, shared by advanced weighing technology provider Shekel, also shows that 75 percent of shoppers now use self-checkout frequently to pay for groceries.

Retailers Expected to Do a Lot More with Less

With fewer retail support staff on hand as stores reopen, many in-store workers are likely to start performing other functions such as helping with personal styling, virtual and in-store shopping assistance, e-commerce support, home delivery and other fulfillment-related activities.

However, performing these functions without the right software and technology automation would be impossible to do well (and delight) at scale. As retailers can only address so much with reduced staff and stressed budgets, let’s take a closer look at what shoppers say are their top in-store frustrations.

A recent Capgemini survey revealed:

  • The largest share of respondents at 60 percent were irritated with long checkout lines
  • 48 percent of shoppers said they were frustrated by products being out of stock  
  • 40 percent of shoppers had difficulties physically locating what they needed
  • 26 percent of shoppers had trouble finding and getting help from an associate
  • 24 percent of customers desired more product information when selecting products
Retail pain points survey on in-store shopping

Here are some ways Veras Retail’s unified solutions can immediately help retailers remove these top in-store pain points.

Everyone Wins with Self-Checkout

As shoppers are taking every precaution to protect themselves, they want the ability to checkout using unattended shopping for their health and safety, as well as the health and safety of retail staff. In addition to never losing a sale or customer to long wait times, retailers will benefit from:

  • Maximizing personnel productivity with labor costs during surges and off-peak hours
  • Shorter queues, a quicker checkout process, and greater capacity
  • Language selection option at checkout makes it easier for multi-language support
  • Staff resources are better directed in managing the store and serving customers in ways such as virtual shopping assistance or direct fulfillment support
Provide Shoppers with Inventory Visibility

Allowing shoppers to use smartphones to know the availability and location of merchandise before heading to stores will eliminate the frustration for nearly 50 percent of shoppers looking for a specific product. In addition to speeding purchases, consumers are more likely to shop in stores when they know ‘the item is in stock’, ‘where it’s available’ and ‘the most convenient location to get the item’.

Veras Retail can help retailers achieve much of this today through real-time connectivity from the point of sale, ecommerce, and checks against real-time inventory. Check out the full details in our blog post, Delivering on New Shopping Expectations.

User Friendly, Product-Rich Kiosks

For roughly one out of every four shopper that has trouble finding an associate for help or desiring more product information, Veras Extend’s interactive experience takes in-store kiosks to the next level. Empowering shoppers to explore on their own, Veras Extend kiosks helps minimize face time with frontline associates, which today is just another layer of exposure, and adds the following powerful customer capabilities:

retail kiosk, 360 product view
  • Eliminate the frustration and cost of missing or incorrect pricing
  • Provide immediate customer service to shoppers when an associate is not available
  • Give a full 360-product view through rich product descriptions, images, and customer reviews
  • Customers will also see all applicable promotions, accessories, and complementary items

Getting back to normal routines will take time and require different shopping habits and retail solutions. As consumers look for more contactless shopping experiences whenever possible that doesn’t mean reduced service level or skimping on customer experience. In fact, quite the opposite is true.

Learn how our light-weight customer experience platform is helping retailers do more with less to keep pace with today’s demanding environment.

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COVID-19 Tax Relief and Hassle-Free Tax Holidays

COVID-19 Tax Relief and Hassle-Free Tax Holidays

April 29, 2020

Simplify the tax holidays and automate tax compliance while keeping up-to-date on COVID-19 tax relief laws. Plus, take advantage of three months of tax automation with Avalara at no cost!

Still pulling data from your ERP into spreadsheets, analyzing pivot tables, and manually filing each return on all the different state websites? What once may have been a manageable (yet painful) process, may now feel like an impossible task due to massive staff reductions, understanding the latest COVID-19 tax relief laws, and approaching tax holiday season.

Now may be the best time to remove your tax compliance burden altogether. And our trusted partner Avalara is ready to help Veras Retail customers automate the most important steps of tax compliance—while keeping up-to-date on COVID-19 tax relief laws.

Tax Response During COVID-19

As we all take steps towards COVID-19 recovery, governments worldwide are doing everything in their power to uplift an economy faltering under the weight of the pandemic. Tax relief varies widely by country, state, and industry. In many countries, including the United States, relief includes tax filing and payment extensions, and even temporary rate reductions to help offset financial burdens.

Rather than having to hunt for COVID-19-related laws and resources, Avalara keeps you informed with their COVID-19 Tax Relief Roundup that’s updated regularly as more information becomes available. From global and federal tax relief details to a comprehensive roundup of tax breaks by state and locality, the tax experts at Avalara help you navigate ongoing changes.

Tax Holidays Sees Public Stocking Up

This year more than 15 states will hold sales tax holidays over limited periods of time where specified products are exempt from sales tax. Like years before, a majority of them will be attached to back-to-school (or learn-from-home) season, energy efficiency, and severe weather preparedness. However, tax holidays are often difficult to plan for as there is no guarantee they’ll take place until they’re signed into law, and sometimes that doesn’t happen until days before they start.

For instance, from April 25 through April 27, the state of Texas offered a sales tax holiday for emergency preparation supplies. Popular gear stocked up by shoppers included weather radios, batteries, flashlights and coolers. But many local stores that carry such items did not seem to know about this new holiday, leaving them unprepared as stores in-the-know took advantage of the tax incentive and increased demand for these supplies.

Remove the following tax holiday headaches with tax automation tied to the POS:

  • Knowing when and where they are. Sales tax holidays are plentiful during the summer. They tend to take place over a weekend or can span an entire week. See the state-by-state guide to 2020 sales tax holidays.
  • Knowing what products are exempt. When tax holidays overlap, it’s important to cross-reference the products you sell with the items eligible for an exemption in each state.
  • Knowing what taxes to collect and not collect. Some states allow local taxing jurisdictions to opt out. To ensure compliance, you need to know which taxes need to be collected—or not collected—on each transaction.
  • Knowing the rules. Each state has its own rules regarding deliveries, exchanges, gift certificates, layaways, reporting, etc. The exemption may extend to delivery charges, for example, or it may not. These are the types of details you need to get right to be sales tax compliant.
  • Knowing price restrictions. Every state except South Carolina imposes price restrictions on eligible goods. For example, clothing must cost $75 or less to be eligible for the exemption in Ohio; in Oklahoma, the exemption applies to clothing and footwear priced less than $100.
Get Three Months of Tax Automation at No Cost

With pre-built connectors into Veras CheckOut and feasible integrations into Win/DSS, Veras Professional Services can help get you up and running quickly with an automated tax solution. Let Avalara’s solution take care of the heavy lifting to strengthen compliance, reduce audit risk, and ease tax complexity so you can focus on more pressing business matters. 

Tax automation at the point-of-sale can also help retailers prevent any negative customer experiences and sales loss from manual tax inputs, such as:

  • Customer and cashier frustration due to incorrect tax setup
  • Slowed checkout lines due to customer disputes on the tax amount or missed holiday tax
  • Returns or refunds processed due to incorrect tax setup

What’s even better is Avalara is offering three months of tax automation at no cost.

For a limited time, get the first three months of sales tax automation at no cost and make no payments for 90 days when you add Avalara’s premier cloud-based tax compliance suite to your financial and commerce systems. Sign up for 12 months of AvaTax or AvaTax plus Avalara Returns to receive the additional free three months. This offer is valid for new Avalara customers only and expires on June 30, 2020*.

Questions? We’re here to help.
Learn more and signup for this special offer or contact Veras Retail directly to get started.

* Avalara reserves the right to cancel, change, or suspend this promotion at any time.

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Delivering on New Shopping Expectations

DELIVERING ON NEW SHOPPING EXPECTATIONS

April 23, 2020

In a future when shoppers are likely to be uneasy about going into any store, only the tech-forward, customer-focused retailers will survive.

The world is a different place than it was just a couple of months ago. As companies hustle to maintain their business while responding to the new normal, many are considering what the long-term impact of coronavirus will be on the retail industry at large.

The coronavirus pandemic has pushed retail quickly into new directions with social distancing. According to research and consulting firm Technomic, 52 percent of consumers are avoiding crowds and 32 percent are leaving their homes less often because of coronavirus. With these new behaviors, brands across the globe are worrying about how COVID-19 will impact how (and if) consumers will come back to stores.

The News is Not All Bad

Some retailers are seeing significant traffic and sales bumps as shoppers stock up or adjust their habits to limit the number of trips they make to public spaces. And Criteo’s Coronavirus shopping trends show ecommerce and select product categories such as cleaning supplies, home office technology, pet supplies, gaming equipment, outdoor furniture, and exercise equipment are experiencing dramatic sales spikes.

Moreover, Digital Commerce 360’s 2020 omnichannel survey of 1,000 online shoppers revealed that 78 percent of online shoppers are active with the following omnichannel behaviors:

  • 54 percent of online shoppers checked inventory at nearby stores
  • 41 percent of online shoppers took advantage of BOPIS
  • 24 percent ordered online for same-day delivery from a web-only retailer
     

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, customers are exerting more control over how, when, and where their orders are fulfilled. So, what does this mean for retailers? It further reinforces that omnichannel is no longer optional for stores. When it comes to any good omnichannel strategy, you’ll find inventory and real-time inventory visibility at its core.

Here are some ways we are leveraging real-time inventory management to help retailers manage the new dynamics of omnichannel retail, now and in the years to come, by the coronavirus aftermath.

BOPIS and Curbside Pickup Accelerate

Buy Online Pickup In-Store (BOPIS) and curbside pickup have become increasingly popular due to COVID-19 and may present a potential survival strategy for retailers to adopt as coronavirus concerns linger.

Many of our omnichannel customers such as Kirkland’s, Floor & Decor, MEC, and Office Depot have all already implemented BOPIS to varying degrees, and some with added business customizations. In addition to flexing these capabilities during the pandemic, these retailers are far better positioned to respond as shoppers gradually adjust to new buying habits moving forward. Furthermore, through Veras CheckOut point-of-sale, these retailers gain real-time visibility of POS purchases that make online merchandise availability all the more accurate.

According to Adobe, BOPIS saw a 62 percent year-over-year increase from February 24, 2019 to March 21, 2020. In addition to limiting the time consumers spend in public areas, BOPIS provides a more immediate alternative when home delivery methods are booked to capacity.

As consumers are drawn to the convenience, safety, and speed of BOPIS, it is essential to provide store staff with the necessary tools to successfully execute.

Veras Locate does that by giving the store quick visibility to inventory position for picking the BOPIS order, as well as audible and visual alerts that let associates know they are falling behind to better prioritize orders and ensure they’re ready for pickup.

Even with BOPIS adoption increasing over recent years, the necessity of using it now may cause permanent adoption to peak and stay in retail.

Ship from Store or from Warehouse

When store hours are limited, or worse, closed when you’re not considered an essential retailer during COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, retailers can use ship from store to achieve these fundamental retail goals to maximize the impact of your stores:

  • Improve customer experience with low-cost, high-speed delivery
  • Efficient inventory management and responsive ecommerce fulfillment centers
  • Increase revenue and profit from more conversions
     

Ship from store provides low-cost, high-speed delivery by distributing the capabilities of warehouses closer to shoppers. By optimizing the picking process and leveraging staff at every store (or select stores) retailers can create responsive ecommerce fulfillment centers. 

Jewelry retailer Kendra Scott provides a nice industry example where they had plans to become truly omnichannel and offer shipping from stores. However, the retailer was still almost a year out from execution. With a ship from store strategy, they were able to accelerate that in just a few weeks by turning their 108 closed stores into mini-fulfillment centers. The retailer is now better able to keep up with growth of its online sales while allowing their employees to practice social distancing.

A ship-from-store fulfillment strategy may also boost revenue resulting from several retail advantages the approach provides.

More sales. Ship from store exposes on-the-shelf, brick-and-mortar inventory to a larger online market. A camping tent stored in the stockroom of a Springfield, Illinois sporting goods store at the end of November can still be sold to an online shopper in San Antonio, Texas, where the average temperature that month hovers in the mid-70s.

Efficient inventory management. Ship from store requires better inventory management. If you miscount inventory in the store, you could easily disappoint an online customer. Improved inventory management can lead to faster turns and better purchasing decisions.

Move more inventory. Rather than warehousing ecommerce inventory in a location that is isolated from stores and store inventory isolated from online markets, ship from store shares inventory across a retailer’s locations.

Veras Locate’s lightweight, easy-to-deploy architecture and efficient order picking allows retailers to meet these challenges without breaking the budget on costly, overly complex warehouse management systems. Veras Locate addresses multiple business cases to make the best use of your resources across stores, warehouses, and offices.

Provide Shoppers with Inventory Visibility

BOPIS and home delivery provides safer, and sometimes more convenient options, to get products in hand to the customer. But as today’s supply chains are constrained and delivery times range anywhere from two days to two weeks, shoppers are taking to the stores to physically search for the items they need. 

What do shoppers ask themselves before entering the store? It really comes down to the following:

  • Is the item in stock?
  • Where is it available?
  • What is the most convenient location?
  • How fast can I get it?
     

Now imagine allowing shoppers to use smartphones to know the availability and location of merchandise before heading to stores (and while in stores). This not only will speed purchases but could be a potential customer-experience game changer during these chaotic times.

Veras Retail can help retailers achieve much of this today through real-time connectivity from the POS, ecommerce, and checks against real-time inventory.

Ultimately, if you lack real-time connectivity from your point-of-sale to your ecommerce business, you’re either going to disappoint the customers by accepting orders that can’t be fulfilled, or lose out on sales when stock is actually available by creating buffers that err too far on the side of caution.

What this all makes clear is how essential the full integration of stores and omnichannel technology has become to retailers. While there are many unknowns, we do know that consumer shopping habits will change, and retailers need to adapt while remaining financially viable.

For retailers, focusing on customer needs and building loyalty through ideal customer experiences may never be as important as it is right now. And in a future when shoppers are likely to be uneasy about going into any store, only the tech-forward, customer-focused retailers will survive.

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Introducing Veras Extend’s Mobile POS Platform

Introducing Veras Extend’s Mobile POS Platform

September 16, 2019

Extend’s Mobile POS Delivers Beyond Traditional Point-of-Sale. And with Veras CheckOut, Extend’s mPOS is Included.

At the VerasONE 2019 user conference in Las Vegas today, we announced the availability of the new generation of the Veras Extend mobile platform. This new version of Extend replaces the previous iOS and Android native framework with a new look and feel, new capabilities, and a new technology paradigm.

New Paradigm. New Customer-Facing, In-Store Capabilities.
  • Bringing Ecommerce to the Store
    The Veras Extend platform is designed from the ground up to address omnichannel shopping in the store. From save-the-sale ordering and endless aisle extended catalog lookup, to clienteling tools to ensure a personalized shopping experience, Veras Extend delivers a single customer-facing experience.
  • Flexible Enough to Work with Any Platform
    Using a hybrid web/native app framework, it can run on just about any platform – iOS and Android to start with, with Windows, Linux, and MacOS coming in January – and any form factor – desktop, tablet, or handheld.
  • Expanding to Other Store-Facing Applications
    While the initial release of the Extend platform is focused on selling and customer-service scenarios that are most commonly requested by our customers for mobile use cases, the platform will eventually encompass all the store-facing functionality provided today, as well as new capabilities like self-checkout.
  • Fast, Flexible Deployments
    Just like Veras CheckOut, Veras Extend can be deployed in a multi-site cloud model, a distributed on-premises model for maximum resiliency, or any combination in between.

As with the previous generation of Veras Extend, the new version uses battle-tested functionality from Veras CheckOut, our enterprise point-of-sale application. Proven omnichannel ordering and promotional pricing capabilities, along with built-in payment processing and other third-party integrations are accessed by Veras Extend through a RESTful API layer. This allows Veras Extend to act as ‘just another register’ in the store, working seamlessly with Veras CheckOut data, business logic, and integrations.

Giving Retailers More Options

We understand that the enterprise mobility landscape for retailers is challenging. For instance, hardware providers that provide ruggedized enterprise solutions are expensive and inflexible, and grafting enterprise mobility sleds onto consumer devices such as iPads puts the retailer at the mercy of the yearly consumer hardware refresh cycle. By making the Veras Extend application platform-agnostic, we help provide retailers with more options. We’ve taken that a step further by embedding the lightning-fast Scandit camera-based scanning capability into Veras Extend.  

Scandit’s SaaS-based model allows retailers to use their scanning software across devices and platforms. If an iPad in your store breaks, replace it with an iPad mini, or a Samsung tablet. The Scandit subscription carries across devices, to ensure that you’re paying only for the scanning used. Combined with Scandit’s scanning performance, retailers can achieve both cost savings and flexibility.

Mobile POS Included with Veras CheckOut

Finally, to bury the lede completely, we are happy to announce that Veras Extend mPOS is included for all current and future users of Veras CheckOut. While other vendors move to a model where pricing varies by platform or by transaction volume, our pricing remains on a predictable per-store basis, regardless of the number of terminals per store, regardless of the platform, and regardless of the deployment model. 

At Veras Retail, we truly believe in empowering retailers with integrated mobile solutions to provide the best in-store experience. To learn more about our you can make mPOS work in your stores, download the Extend solution brief or contact us today for personalized demo.

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4 New Countries. 4 Currencies. 3 Months. 1 Solution.

4 New Countries. 4 Currencies. 3 Months. 1 Solution.

April 11, 2019

Completing a Complex, Multi-Country Deployment On Time & Under Budget Within 3 Months

Our latest customer success story focuses on a global retailer that leveraged our solutions and experience to successfully deploy Point-of-Sale, and Advanced Promotions & Coupon technology in stores across multiple countries and multiple currencies – and all within a three-month window of time. This retailer has brought every new business acquired by its parent company onto Veras CheckOut, our flexible POS platform that allows retailers to rapidly implement new solutions and capabilities at lower total cost of ownership.

Currently, the leading retailer leverages Veras Retail’s solution to support more than 360 stores in five countries and across all companies within its brand umbrella.

In this case study, you’ll read more about the retailer’s challenge of integrating a premier, international fashion brand acquired by its parent company into its operations within a very short timeframe. For Veras Retail, that meant implementing our Veras CheckOut and Veras Activate solutions at all 45 outlet and four full-priced boutique stores in the U.S. – as well as three stores in Canada, one store in Ireland and two stores in the United Kingdom – within a three-month window of time. 

Not long after, we were tapped to provide support for the retailer’s first store opening in Germany, marking its foray into a fifth international market.

Read the full case study to learn how Veras Retail stepped up to the plate to support our client by leading an on-time, under-budget implementation that complied with each country’s individual taxation and legal requirements and payment processing needs.

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Veras Retail Wows At NRF 2019

Veras Retail Wows At NRF 2019

February 22, 2019

Looking Back at NRF 2019

Despite market uncertainty and the looming, albeit empty, threat posed by a ‘retail apocalypse’, 2019 was a good year for the National Retail Federation’s annual Big Show, which attracted nearly 40,000 attendees, more than 700 exhibitors and featured a wide variety of sessions at the conference in mid-January. 

The show floor was alive. Any lingering doubts that the physical store would continue to serve a purpose in a world that increasingly embraces ecommerce were quashed, with so much of the conversation centering around ways retailers can create a seamless in-store and online shopping experience, and how new technologies are setting the stage for next-level customer personalization. 

Amid robots and drones and endless talk of AI, analytics and machine learning, other trends that emerged at this year’s conference centered around the need for advanced in-store and payment solutions that can keep pace with customer data privacy regulations like CCPA and GDPR. Fraud prevention also was top of mind and remains as pervasive as ever, accounting for up to an estimated $24 billion in losses in the U.S. each year. 

A group of people standing in front of a store

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Given all these factors, we picked a good year to ramp up our NRF exhibition game. This was only our third year exhibiting in the Expo Hall, but it was undoubtedly a major step up from last year with double the booth size. Visitors also noticed our bigger footprint, both in terms of square footage and presence. When demonstrating Veras Activate’s ability to simulate the interaction of complex promotions weeks in advance of their effective date, another prospect said, “Now you’re going to make me cry!” 

A consultant informed us, “Now that I see your booth, I know you are big enough to work with my client.” Although positive, this comment admittedly stung a bit, “Veras Retail is the best-kept secret at NRF! Why didn’t I know about you guys before?”

The booth was indeed inviting, and our products clearly resonated with brick-and-mortar retailers looking to enhance the in-store shopping experience and help drive revenue and brand loyalty. Ultimately, the feedback we received at NRF 2019 provided validation that our decision to focus on customer needs and satisfaction after we acquired the store systems suite from JDA Software in 2016 was the right one.

At NRF 2019, we showcased our re-platformed Veras Reach solution, which offers a powerful combination of CRM and customer loyalty program capabilities to help retailers think outside the box in terms of how they can reward their best customers, for a fraction of what other loyalty programs cost. 

We demonstrated the forthcoming Bluetooth beacon-driven Veras Affinity clienteling module, allowing sales associates to proactively engage customers on the sales floor as they shop. We also announced that Veras CheckOut 10.2 point-of-sale includes integration with Appriss Retail’s innovative return authorization technology, Verify®, which uses individual customer behavior data to render a fair decision to accept or deny merchandise returns. 

If we didn’t get a chance to connect with you this year, make a note to stop by our booth at NRF 2020, #1253. It’s sure to wow again!