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Recession-Busting Retail Hacks

Updated: Aug 29, 2023

A retail store open for the day
Retail Open for Business
  • Physical retail outlets have enjoyed a resurgence of foot traffic post-lockdown

  • Protect the longevity of your investment by choosing futureproof hardware

  • Product showcase: CA850 POS terminal

Tony Robbins, arguably the world’s best-known success coach, is famed for identifying opportunities no matter how grim a situation might seem. So it’s no surprise that he has written about businesses that thrive in a recession -- and if recent economic trends are anything to go by, it would seem ‘recession-proof’ businesses are COVID-proof, as well.

People are not going to stop needing groceries and healthcare, and especially when times are tough, items such as sweets and alcohol are in hot demand. After all, as Mr Robbins has noted, we are wired to “seek pleasure and avoid pain”. But what does this have to do with the retail landscape?

E-commerce’s flash in the pan

As the pandemic gripped the world in a series of lockdowns, the vast majority of retail shifted to the online space. In the wake of this upsurge, leaders in e-commerce speculated that the proportion of money spent online would stay at least five years ahead of the curve relative to transactions in physical retail outlets.

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US Ecommerce Growth

Unfortunately for them, the gamble did not pay off. As Tobias Lütke, CEO of Shopify, wrote on 26 July: “What we see now is the mix reverting to roughly where pre-COVID data would have suggested it should be at this point.” But fortunately for retail, it appears that this is because human nature makes us crave the customer experience of physically visiting a sales environment.

Riding the retail wave

While precise statistics are not readily available, people are visibly flocking to retail outlets and shopping centres. It’s an understandable reaction -- now that we are free to indulge our desires to get out and about, and engage in a more normal lifestyle, we are doing so with great enthusiasm.

This sets the scene for new retail stores to be opening despite inflation, rising pressure from the cost of living, and labour expenses. But as the number of retailers increases, so does the need for new POS terminals. And if you’re an existing outlet seeing an upswing in customers, what do you do when your POS terminal breaks down?

At Element, embracing the ‘just in case’ supply model (as opposed to ‘just in time’) means we have been able to continue supplying stock with the latest chipsets as needed. Choosing cutting-edge technology allows you to sidestep the ramifications of using processors that were launched seven or more years ago.

Heated debate

The biggest issue that causes problems in electronics, IT equipment and POS devices is heat: as heat increases, the mean time between failures decreases. A POS terminal using a desktop processor that draws 35-50W of power naturally generates more heat -- so while the terminal might have a solid and robust appearance, it actually has more potential for points of failure than an Element terminal that runs on 10W or 15W.

This improves the reliability and longevity of terminals equipped with 11th-generation processors, but another significant concern is that legacy chipsets won’t support migration to Windows 11. As foot traffic to retail increases, how are you going to ensure that the POS infrastructure you establish today stays relevant and functional in the future?

Invest in tomorrow

Despite the seemingly constant messages of doom and gloom from headlines focusing on recession, inflation, cost of living and tech layoffs, the subject of futureproofing is more topical than ever. People will still go out regularly to enjoy a beer at the pub, a meal at a restaurant, or to browse at their local shopping centre. We want a break from the problems of life, and recession-proof businesses offer us the relief we need from the daily grind.

Rehashing the solutions of yesterday is not going to futureproof your business. Take the time to think about what your plan is going to be over the next few years, and ask yourself: what is going to support your software? What will provide your retail business with the transactional power it needs to thrive? And most importantly: what will ensure the best possible customer experience?

Terminal velocity

In a previous blog post, we briefly touched on the CA850 from the angle of comparing it to

another POS terminal developed for a significantly different design brief. Now that feeds and speeds are crucial subjects of discussion, there will be no sharing of the spotlight: at this time of subtle renaissance for the retail sphere, the CA850 is the terminal of the moment.

Starting with its aesthetics and build quality, featuring an edge profile of just 7mm, the CA850 is the thinnest POS terminal available. Its sleek, futuristic appearance makes it a sophisticated architectural feature of your retail space, not just a functional one. Its high screen-to-body ratio,meanwhile, gives it a minimal footprint on the counter, leaving you plenty of room to do business.

But its greatest power is the Intel J6412 processor within, which outperforms seventh-generation i5 and i3 units. Capable of supporting Windows 11, and running off 10W for low-heat operation, the CA850 is a perfect example of futureproof technology. Plus, it’s compatible with a full suite of peripherals such as an NFC reader, MSR and even a fingerprint reader to ensure your staff find it effortless to operate. Offering a next-level retail experience for your customers, it is yet another epitome of design, quality and purpose.

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