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The Human Factor

Updated: Aug 29, 2023

Relationship between humans and technologies
Humans and Robots

Our personal investment in the customer experience sets Element apart - The human factor

  • Interaction points with technology are key aspects of the retail landscape

  • How we created a POS environment to enhance customer engagement

  • Product showcase: Self Service Kiosk P-series

The cliché about an organisation only being as good as its people is a well-worn classic that warrants a closer look. When thinking about a business, it’s easy to see it as a brand, a slogan, a symbol, possibly a signature product. But where did that signature product come from? Does it live up to its slick marketing campaign?

When we talk about design, quality and purpose, these are not simply conversation starters -- they are values we embrace as human beings, they are central to defining our journey. And in the retail world, that journey is all about the customer experience.

Lasting impressions

Globally, everyone is a consumer -- even a street-food customer in some obscure corner of the world. Everyone deals with point-of-sale interactions, and retail transactions affect everyone’s daily life. Have you ever consciously thought about how you interact with a self-checkout? How would you describe your transaction experience at a favourite retailer? Your point of interaction with technology is usually going to be your last impression of the business that received your money.

Retailers engage with their customers in diverse ways -- instore, online, through apps -- and this engagement is vital for enriching the customer journey. The technology interface customers interact with is consistently a cornerstone of their engagement: by shaping their impression of a retailer, it can often have a bearing on the likelihood of loyalty.

At Element, we qualify, investigate and align with our partners’ unique needs -- and because we appreciate the value of the customer experience, we deliver nuanced solutions to complex requirements.

A passion for fashion

For a retailer in a shopping centre, lease is calculated by square metre, so from a store design point of view, this means every centimetre is prime real estate. For a fashion chain, generous counter space is particularly crucial to brand identity: this is where sales staff fold and bag garments while lavishing the customer with attention and making them feel like a VIP.

For many people who sell POS hardware, the status quo is to discuss feeds and speeds, and other parameters of the terminals themselves. At Element, we take a more ambitious view -- applying our understanding of what goes on in a retail store, not just from a technology perspective, but in terms of design, visual merchandise, and how these factors integrate into a brand’s overall market strategy.

For our fashion partner, we supplied a POS unit that could fold down flat instead of being mounted on a stand, freeing up precious counter space. Alongside that, we provided an under-bench mounted printer, and solved the issue of cable management with a cordless scanner that was also stowed under the countertop when not in use.

This way, staff could place clothes on the counter when making a sale and focus on engaging the customer, folding their new garments for them and placing them in an attractive bag -- all part of the luxury retail experience. There was no cumbersome IT equipment between the salesperson and the customer to detract from the look and feel of the retailer’s store -- it didn’t encroach on their brand.

Modular by design

The COVID world has changed everything, including people’s preferences for how they transact. Retailers still need to engage their customers, and as the pandemic has made people more wary of face-to-face interaction, the response has been to give customers more choices about their points of interaction.

Self-checkouts have been a standard fixture in supermarkets for years now, and the paradigm is also becoming a popular option for fast food outlets. But there is an increasing call to use self service kiosks across much more of the retail world.

The Element self service kiosk SSK-P
Element SSK-P Self Service Kiosk

For these reasons, Element has developed the Self Service Kiosk P-series, based around either a 21.5in or 27in head unit that supports Windows or Android. Modular by design, the same head unit can be installed into a wall mount if the retailer requires an unobtrusive option, or positioned on a back-to-back stand in a QSR (quick service restaurant) setting. It can be stood on a counter or it can be part of a full supermarket setup, incorporating a scanner scale and security scale, and these are just a few of the options available.

In practical terms, this means our partners can invest in a single ecosystem of a head unit to suit an incredibly diverse range of applications. Their software can be tested and run on it, a standard operating environment can be established, and then -- thanks to its modular design -- it can be incorporated into practically any retailer’s use-case environment to help them enhance the customer engagement journey.

That customer engagement is, and always will be, the human factor at the heart of the retail experience. And the technology that represents the point of interaction must support a smooth and effortless transaction no matter what setting it fits into, keeping the customer journey free of stumbling blocks.

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