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Introduction to Retail Technology in Australia

Discuss about the Retail Technology in Australia for Mobile Payment Solutions.

From the overall discussion it can be concluded that there are numbers of technological tools introduced in the retailing sectors of Australia are helping both the staffs and the customers simultaneously. Well known retailers in Australia are Woolworts, Coles, Westfield, Aldi and Costco are using the latest technologies like- Mobile Payment Solutions, Omnichannel- from buzzword to benchmark, Rise in Faster Shipping Option, Retail Centric Apps etc. these apps are very helpful in expansion of retail sectors and providing customer satisfaction in both online and at store shopping. With this there are number of technological tools introduced helping both the customers and staff to get the work done quickly these includes- Bar Code Technology, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), Electronic Self Signage, Interactive Kiosk, Body Scanning, Electronic Point of Scale (EPOS) Technologies etc. it is to be noted here that as far as customer satisfaction is concerned these IT Tools are very beneficial, but on part of staff as they are making their task easier, but at the same time reduce the number of staffs previously required. The interactive kiosk furnishes an example of such tool, which gives the desired information to the customers without any help from the staffs. 

The introduction of new technologies in the retailing sector actually helps to improve customers’ experience while shopping in the supermarkets. In 2017 the following four trends of technological can be noticed.

In the Australian retail market mobile payment is getting acceptance. Most of the Australian retailers have already adopted this method of payment and others are making efforts to do so. The retailers have different options available in the market to select which one suits best for them like- Retail Point of System (Retail POS), custom mobile payment apps (Coles Mobile Wallet) and third party option (Apple Pay) (Stein & Ramaseshan, 2016).

It is very much essential to the retailers to understand that the need of modern customers cannot be fulfilled through one channel of operation. To maximize their sales the retailers need to push their Omnichannel strategy throughout the so that they can fulfill the demand of their customers of ‘click and collect’, but this system can be challenging for the retailers not able to develop such system (Armstrong et al., 2014).

As free shipping is common now, consumers are looking for fastest delivery of their products. Consumers are now ready to pay around $15 or more to get their purchased product delivered within three to four hours of purchase. Even if same day delivery is not essential for many customers but they expect their goods to be delivered within 2-3 days, instead of 7-10 days.

Important Trends in Australian Retail Technology

With the emergence of new technologies in retail sectors, the consumers are able to shop according to their convenience. That’s why the retailers are expected to use retail centric new technologies and third party solutions to serve the need of modern consumers efficiently. Instagram is used by many retailers to sell their products quickly and easily, with the use of solutions like- Like2Buy, Tapshop and Soldsie etc. Woolworts, Coles, Westfield, Aldi and Costco are the well known retailers in Australia (Price, 2016).

Retailing sector is the one which is very much affected by the economic downturn. It has permanently changed the way consumers shop whether online or in-store kiosk. After recession there is a change in consumers shopping paradigm- selective and target marketing. Consumers are now looking of trust relationship with the retailers. Although it is the ‘brand’ which brings the customers to the stores or online, but ultimately it is their ‘experience’ which develops customer loyalty (Mortimer, 2017).

There are number of IT tools used in retailing sectors in Australia to keep track of their stocks according to the customers’ demand, at the same time huge inventories are not affordable because it will adversely affect the profit margins by increasing the costs. To perform these tasks the Australian retailers are using- Customer Relationship Management, Electronic Data Interchange, Inventory Management and Supply Chain Management. Technology has covered entire process of retailing from manufacturing, storage in warehouse, and distribution to different stores and finally sales (Wright et al., 2015). The Automated Identification and Data Capture (AICD) Technologies is used in all the retailing sectors in Australia to meet the demand of the business. Customers experience with these technologies is discussed here.

Bar code technology is used in all the retail sectors of Australia for product marking and identification. In the retail sector each and every product has been given Product ID that is item code or product code, which is used at the time of billing (Greenland, 2016). 

The bar coding system by scanning the product automatically fed the data into the system, this saves the billing time of staff because they don’t need to punch it manually through the keyboard. It also helps the staff to quickly locate and monitor the product, check the number of pieces. In up-selling, cross-selling, and in-store marketing the bar coding solutions play an important role. When it comes to the convenience of the customers in Australian retail sector, the bar coding solution helps fast checkouts, reduces queues, this time saving experience increases customers visit to store (Ferguson et al., 2016).

Types of Technologies Used in Australian Retail Sectors

The RFID is an important IT Tool used by Australian retailers which helps to trace a product taken without payment at the exit. The RFID is a very helpful tool for the staff as it helps in the process of inventory tracing, stock maintenance and automated checkout. Moreover, this technology is taking care of the cost of around 33 percent of front-end store and 50 percent of the back-end store (Petersen, Person & Nash, 2014).

The electronic shelf signages are electronic display panels used in Australian retail market. Product description, schemes and offers provided by the retailer is displayed through this. This tool actually helps the customers to know about the products as well as any offer on them. Pricing of the products can be updated immediately through the computer software, although the pricing and promotional labels still require manual attachment, this creates duplicity of data and acknowledged as human error. This problem of the staff can be resolved by implementing automated electronic LCD connected with back end computers (Neupane, 2015). This will help in saving staff time and reducing human errors.

Interactive kiosk is another type of computer used in Australian retail sectors. With the help of this touch screen computer customers get information about the products. Video kiosk can provide an entire map of the store helping the customers to locate their desired products easily without moving around the store. Kiosk is a very beneficial technology for both the customers and retailer. On the other hand it reduces the number of required staffs, because all the desired information required by the customers is available automatically, reducing need of staff assistance (Boyd, Tuckey & Winefield, 2014).

Body scanning is another technological tool installed in most of the Australian retail sector. This computerized system takes body measurements helping both the staff and the customer to get the right size of clothing. This machine takes measurement of shopper from different angles and generates 3D model. This technique is very useful when the customers demand to manufacture clothes according to particular measurement as well as alteration of clothes (Prasad et al., 2016). This machine is useful to get the customer their desired product and useful to the retailer and staff to deliver desired product.

The EPOS is computer base billing system, generally used retailers having huge number of sales, stocks and customers. In almost all the retailing sectors in Australia EPOS are used to produce accurate bills. Moreover, it helps to maintain customer and sales data base, which is very useful information to frame the future decisions of the company. This is a very helpful technology for the staff to increase efficiency in billing, quick payment, inventory updates and instantly reports on sales and stocks (Boyd, Tuckey & Winefield, 2014).       

Conclusion

  1. What do you think about the new technological tools used in the retail sectors? How efficiently these tools are working?
  2. Is the Bar Code Technology helping the staff to do the billing quickly?
  3. Is the use of Interactive Kiosk has reduced the desired number of staff for customer assistance.
  4. Is the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is helping to keep track of the goods, take without billing?
  1. The retail technology used in retail sectors, how customer friendly they are?
  2. Is Interactive Kiosk is helpful in finding the desired products quickly?
  3. Have you experienced the Body Scanning technology? Is it providing the accurate measurement?
  4. Is the Bar Code technology used by the retailer is saving your time at the time of billing?

References

Stein, A., & Ramaseshan, B. (2016). Towards the identification of customer experience touch point elements. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 30, 8-19.

Armstrong, G., Adam, S., Denize, S., & Kotler, P. (2014). Principles of marketing. Pearson Australia.

Price, R. (2016). Controlling routine front line service workers: an Australian retail supermarket case. Work, employment and society, 30(6), 915-931.

Mortimer, G. (2017). Why Australian supermarkets continue to look to the UK for leadership. The Conversation, (20).

Wright, J., Kamp, E., White, M., Adams, J., & Sowden, S. (2015). Food at checkouts in non-food stores: a cross-sectional study of a large indoor shopping mall. Public health nutrition, 18(15), 2786-2793.

Greenland, S. J. (2016). The Australian experience following plain packaging: the impact on tobacco branding. Addiction, 111(12), 2248-2258.

Ferguson, M., O'dea, K., Chatfield, M., Moodie, M., Altman, J., & Brimblecombe, J. (2016). The comparative cost of food and beverages at remote Indigenous communities, Northern Territory, Australia. Australian and New Zealand journal of public health, 40(S1).

Singh-Peterson, L., & Lawrence, G. (2015). Insights into community vulnerability and resilience following natural disasters: perspectives with food retailers in Northern NSW, Australia. Local Environment, 20(7), 782-795.

Petersen, L. B., Person, R., & Nash, C. (2014). Connect: How to Use Data and Experience Marketing to Create Lifetime Customers. John Wiley & Sons.

Neupane, R. (2015). The effects of brand image on customer satisfaction and loyalty intention in retail super market chain UK. International Journal of Social Sciences and Management, 2(1), 9-26.

Boyd, C. M., Tuckey, M. R., & Winefield, A. H. (2014). Perceived effects of organizational downsizing and staff cuts on the stress experience: The role of resources. Stress and Health, 30(1), 53-64.

Prasad, K. D. V., Vaidya, R., Kumar, V. A., & Prasad, K. D. V. (2016). An Emprical Study On The Causes Of Occupational Stress And It’s Ffect On Performance At The Workplace Of Supermarkets In Hyderabad.

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