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Retailers missing out on big technology benefits

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Everyone hates long queues, they are frustrating and a complete waste of time. However BRONWYN WATT at Paycorp believes that a simple POS system will make things much easier and keep customers happy.

Visit any shopping centre while the sales are on and you’re very likely to find it heaving with bargain-hunters. But a while later you’ll find they’re not so keen.

Why? Because South African retailers are inclined to treat their customers like sheep. You don’t realise you’re doing it but every time you make your customers stand in queues, that’s how they feel.

The psychology of queuing is not pretty. Most people are too polite to express their frustration but making them wait in a queue – especially when they’re trying to give you their money – is demoralising. And when people are demoralised they become restless and surly. Far from delighting your customers, you become their tormentor.

A queue, especially a long, slow one, makes people feel as if they have been forced to submit to a system that is inefficient. And, be honest, isn’t that exactly what’s happening? You have probably felt these feelings yourself when forced to queue.

The world has changed dramatically and, along with it, service expectations. Most of us inhabit an online world for a fair portion of the day. In this world, everything happens fast. Online you can find, order and pay for a product in mere minutes and it will be delivered directly to you tomorrow.

Products are the easy part of the business. They are simply consumed. Service is another matter entirely because it is experienced in real time, with time being the key word. No wonder customers begrudge the time they are forced to stand in queues.

So if service is your best friend and queue your worst enemy, what can you do to get more of the former and less of the latter? The very same modern technology that makes customers so impatient also provides the solution to their need for speed: mobile point-of-sale (mPOS).

mPOS systems are not just for artisans who trade at markets and mobile service providers like plumbers and electricians. There’s no reason not to use an mPOS in-store… and a great many good reasons to do so, not the least of which is that it’s a simple and elegant solution to those nasty queues that your customers hate so much.

5 key elements to look for in an mPOS system:

  • Up-to-date security: to ensure that every transaction is safe and secure, payment information should not only be encrypted but also transferred via point-to-point encryption to a PCI Level 1 certified gateway.
  • Integration with your existing system: you shouldn’t need to buy a whole new payments system to use mPOS: you should be able to quickly and easily introduce it within your current system.
  • Bank agnostic: it should work with every bank that has a local presence.
  • Easy to use: there’s nothing complicated about mPOS. It’s a quick, easy solution.
  • Fully communication-enabled in conjunction with a smartphone or tablet: you should be able to use your mPOS system everywhere, at any time. If you really want to gain major customer service points and put your competitors in the shade, how about letting customers pay for the products they want as they walk out of the changing room! Seriously, how impressed would you be if that happened to you in-store? Talk about delighting your customers!

* Bronwyn Watt, Group Marketing Manager at Paycorp

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CES: So long, and thanks for all the beer!

Last week, the Las Vegas expo showed off its fun side with state-of-the-art technologies for enjoying beer, writes BRYAN TURNER

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From craft beer-making machines to robots that pour beer, CES had more beer than usual in Las Vegas last week. And even free beer if you found the right stand. Stampede’s saloon-style booth offered beer to visitors who tried out its latest drones, virtual reality, and other gaming products. No beer tech, though.

Here are some of the beer technologies that stood out:

LG HomeBrew – Craft beer made at home

LG’s HomeBrew craft beer-making machine,  debuted at CES 2019, brings the brewing process home thanks to single-use capsules,  a self-cleaning feature, and an algorithm optimised for fermentation. 

Like a Nespresso coffee machine, the beer maker uses capsules, which contain malt, yeast, hop oil and flavouring. At the press of a button, LG HomeBrew automates the whole procedure from fermentation and carbonation to ageing. A companion app lets users check HomeBrew’s status at any time during the process, from their handsets.

The beer machine not only offers a simple way to make craft beer, but also enhances the quality of beer it makes. The fermentation algorithm intelligently controls the fermenting process with precise temperature and pressure control. It automatically sanitises itself, using nothing more than hot water, ensuring everything is hygienically clean for the next batch.

Designed with discerning beer lovers in mind, HomeBrew allows for in-home production of batches of more than 4 litres of beer in a variety of styles. The following five distinctive, flavoured beers are available now: 

  • Hoppy American IPA
  • Golden American Pale Ale
  • Full-bodied English Stout
  • Zesty Belgian-style Witbier
  • Dry Czech Pilsner

The only catch? It takes about two weeks to make, depending on the beer type.

“LG HomeBrew is the culmination of years of home appliance and water purification technologies that we’ve developed over the decades,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “Homebrewing has grown at an explosive pace, but there are still many beer lovers who haven’t taken the jump because of the barriers to entry, like complexity, and these are the consumers we think will be attracted to LG HomeBrew.”

Click here to read about the party speaker that holds beer and robots that pour beer.

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CES: Alienware gets Legend-ary

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At CES in Las Vegas last week, Dell’s Alienware released a family of high-end, thin, light, and affordable machines for both amateur and professional gamers – and a new identity.

Alienware marked CES 2019 as a brand milestone with the debut of a new design identity, Alienware Legend. It aims to set a new bar of excellence for what gamers want most – performance and function. Alienware says it evaluated multiple concepts and chose one that was the biggest and boldest departure from its current look.

Alienware Legend, says the company, stays true to the brand’s core design tenets, taking cues from its deep roots in sci-fi culture and its early industrial designs, to distinguish the brand from the rest of the industry. The new Legend design is optimised with cutting-edge thermal cooling technology to achieve and sustain overclocking power, improved AlienFX lighting, and ultra-thin screen borders. It also unveiled a new “three-knuckle hinge” design that reduces the overall dimension while creating a stronger assembly, all combining to yield a better gaming experience.

“We’re excited to come to this year’s CES with some truly groundbreaking products, next-gen software and strategic partnerships that will bring more people to experience PC gaming and advance the industry,” said Frank Azor, vice president and general manager of Alienware. “The legend design answers the call for more and better from our gaming community, and the new G Series laptops will make PC gaming even more accessible to those looking for high-performance gaming at a cost they can appreciate.”

Click here to read about Alienware Legend in action with the Area-51m and m-series laptops

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