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3 tech solutions that helped businesses thrive amid the pandemic

Posted by Deepshikha Shukla

November 3, 2021    |     3-minute read (519 words)

Despite the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 6 million businesses have emerged since March 2020, shows data from NPR. In this article, we discuss three technologies that have helped businesses to run remotely and affordably.

Self-serve kiosks

Self-serve kiosks are small, temporary, stand-alone booths that are used in high-traffic areas such as shopping malls. They provide a user-friendly experience to customers looking for products, services or information. Businesses can deploy kiosks to enable their employees to focus only on specific areas such as sales and marketing, operations management or customer service. For example, kiosks at restaurants can help visitors place their orders and pay for them.

When the coronavirus pandemic brought court proceedings to a halt, Minnesota Legal Services Coalition embarked on a $3.5 million project that deployed self-service kiosks to more than 250 locations in Minnesota to provide legal services. 

Point-of-sale systems 

Cloud-based POS systems are online software that allow businesses to process customer transactions and manage business operations. These systems can streamline the checkout process for customers, enhance sales reporting, manage inventory and track stock levels, among other things.

POS systems also let business owners access and update data such as inventory and sales reports from any location and time zone using an internet connection. They are easy to set up and cost less to install than local POS systems that require on-site servers. 

Examples of popular online POS systems with cloud capabilities:
  • Square: overall cloud POS system
  • Lightspeed: cloud POS for store management
  • Shopify: cloud POS for omnichannel sales
  • Toast: cloud POS for restaurants
  • Vend by Lightspeed: cloud POS for building customer loyalty
Data analytics

A customer loyalty program's success often depends on how effectively it captures data, which can then be analyzed and transformed into actionable insights, a process also known as data analytics. Data-informed loyalty programs and marketing campaigns can enhance customer engagement and enable companies to extend their brand awareness and boost sales. 

Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop is one such brand that has found success leveraging data analytics. Jane McPherson, Capriotti’s senior vice president of marketing, said the company uses data analytics to shape its sales and marketing initiatives, improve its loyalty program and boost customer engagement. 

“We communicate with consumers via an app push message, SMS message or email message,” McPherson said. “We engage with them in the way they want to opt in and participate in our campaigns.” Meanwhile, the company uses data analytics to convert browsers into buyers with the help of digital advertising campaigns on social media, YouTube and via Google searches.

The vital steps taken by Capriotti’s to make its digital transformation successful included enabling customers to order by scanning a QR code and then pick up the order outside of the store, along with using switchboards that provide CRM tools to help the chain upsell. 

Other efforts include using omnichannel marketing and customer segmentation to reach different segments of customers, adding a layer of customized user experience on top of customer data, prioritizing customer segmentation and email- and text-based loyalty campaigns, and encouraging customers to participate in marketing campaigns, she said.

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