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Retailers, COVID, and the Evolving Face of the Shopping Experience

Retailers of every breadth were already facing a host of challenges pre-COVID. With a wave of new technology rippling through and disrupting every facet of their storefront and pushing it towards an online marketplace, these pre-existing challenges are amplified even more so now. They also present a lot of opportunities on how to lean into this pendulum shift to be in a position of strength moving forward.

When you pull back the lens and look at the entire retail scope from a wider view, the role of kiosks and ordering ahead can help ease retail traffic amid the pandemic, can iron out the pent-up demands from consumers and can help shape the next normal post-crisis.

The retail footprint is being completely reimagined

Since the retail ecosystem has continued to blossom by getting the green light towards reopening, there have been makeshift efforts to reduce contact and limit crowds. Everything from arrows on the floor so customers walk in a single file, plexiglass shields, and quick-fix signs on walls with new and evolving safety instructions have been leveraged for a safe reopening.

Even as economies come back, social distancing may become a way of life, and this is clearly something we will all have to deal with for the foreseeable future. Retailers are shifting gears and looking for innovative ways of operating, but also to work around the idea to reduce crowding and ensure social distancing during the purchase experience.

Accelerated commerce is the gold standard

Technology has been front and center during the outbreak. The coronavirus pandemic has underscored the important role technology plays in consumers’ lives as well as the role it serves for businesses that continue to adapt and operate under these new conditions.

Having an interactive self-serve kiosk not only addresses issues with wait times, long lines and worrying about too many people in a store at once, but it enables the consumer to embrace private product exploration and purchase from their smartphone – from their home. Consumers are hyper-connected and relying on technology to ease their stress, so now is the time to embrace it in full force.

A self-serve opportunity benefits both sides of the counter

High-performing self-serve kiosks enhance the user experience while remaining compliant to state and federal regulations around COVID.

Growing dispensaries have the ability to reduce labor costs and mine customer data for more intelligent sourcing of inventory and predicting buyer patterns. And customers can be exposed to new sales, new promotions, prices, and intelligent product recommendations while only using their thumb to do all the shopping.

A reliance on technology will be one of the most pronounced long-term impacts from the global pandemic.

Contactless, online shopping will be the new normal

People will be hesitant to wait in long, socially distanced lines for casual shopping, and will want to limit the amount of time they spend in a store as much as possible. So to make the experience easy, retailers can increase their sales, improve transaction speed, capture important customer information and receive pre-orders for pick-up.

Technology can also generate connections by making every consumer feel like they have a personal shopper by suggesting similar pieces based prior purchases. With everything connected back to a state-of-the-art application complete with a user profile, customers are treated to a VIP experience that educates them and empowers them to make product decisions based on their purchase history and new inventory selection.

There are a lot of digital experiences for retailers to learn from

Driven by the power of integration and leaning on a simple and informative platform to use, our mission is to drive a new era in how the cannabis space can function. The entire Cocoon ecosystem fused together through the CocoonPod™, secure POS kiosks, CocoonRewards™, and our innovative loyalty app – this cutting-edge technology truly streamlines the flow and growth for retail environments.

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