The Easter rush is behind us and the summer ahead, so now is the time for the UK’s high street retailers to guarantee they have everything in place in time for the next burst of seasonal consumption.

First and foremost, it is important to ensure their customers’ journeys through to the checkout are as smooth and hassle-free as possible so that both sales and footfall are maximised.

We know that queueing is increasingly a turn-off for shoppers at busy times. In Vista Retail Support’s 2016 Valentine’s Day survey, for example, more than half of the respondents (54 per cent) said they would avoid a store because of long queues.

With online rivals offering a queue-free alternative to the high street, retailers need every tool and technology at their disposal so they can give customers the best chance of completing purchases quickly when there are seasonal rushes.

This should include adoption of new payment technology, such as contactless cards, Apple Pay and wearables, which are gaining in popularity because of their speed and ease of use. Figures released by the UK Cards Association reveal that during January this year, £1,107.3m was spent using contactless card, an increase of 285.6 per cent over the year.

In-store beacons also have a role to play in busy periods, allowing retailers to use Bluetooth technology to connect with the more than 70 per cent of UK consumers who own a smartphone. Push notifications can be sent to customers’ phones, offering short-lived, exclusive in-store promotions that are effective in drawing attention to new products or achieving upsells.

Using beacons, the retailer can also track phones to plot how customers use and move around their stores, adapting layouts to maximise efficiency and revenue. They will also gain invaluable profile information about their clientele, enabling offers to be tailored to their individual purchasing histories.

Indeed, mobile technology is revolutionising retail as more stores are utilising tablets and other devices to augment self-service, visual merchandising, assisted selling and employee training.

A team of properly trained staff with tablets can transform the shopping experience for customers by having product and stock availability information at their fingertips. They can also use the devices to upsell and cross-promote other products, using the mobile device’s high-resolution display to catch the eyes of customers they are assisting.

With thorough preparation and the right technology and backup from a retail support specialist, retailers can ensure their operations run smoothly and profitably no matter how busy seasonal rushes become.

James Pepper

James Pepper


James Pepper is Technical Services Director at Vista.