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The march of mobile ordering through the retail space

The march of mobile ordering through the retail space

In a traditional retail environment, click & collect technology has been in use for some time. Customers at stores like Marks & Spencer embraced the online ordering functionality (whether for delivery or collection) long ago. Those that aren’t wedded to trying on outfits in advance of a purchase, or who are happy for staff to select the best goods from the shelf, have been the greatest beneficiaries.

The march of mobile ordering through the retail space

More recently, food-to-go retailers have been using technology to eliminate their own in-store queues. Food-to-go shops, like Vital Ingredient, take the majority of their turnover during the busy lunch period. When queues snake out of the door, they inevitably lose the custom of people, turned off by the thought of waiting to be served. There’s an acknowledged science to this. A study by researchers at University College London found that people will wait for an average of six minutes in a queue before giving up and that they are unlikely to join a queue that has more than six people in it.

So what comes next for retailers? There are a couple of trains of thought. At the recent Lunch! show, IGD examined the fusion of retail with food-to-go, in-store. Some of the world’s most forward-thinking retailers, it said, are developing their own in-house food-to-go offerings.

Away from the high street, we suspect the answer lies in forecourts and related convenience stores. Currently there are around 8,400 petrol forecourts in the UK, and these range from large convenience stores to small unmanned kiosks. Generating more than £4bn in sales each year, there’s a good argument for investing in technology to enhance the customer experience, cut queues and promote loyalty. And it does indeed seem that businesses are paying attention, according to the Association of Convenience Stores, Forecourt Report 2017, over £12,000 has been spent, per store, on average to improve business.

Has that money been spent on mobile ordering? Not yet. While the bigger companies, BP and Shell, have bought out pre-pay apps for petrol, these (for the most part) haven’t extended to the goods inside the forecourt. Hopefully this isn’t a trick that will be missed for long as, no doubt, travellers and locals would be grateful for the chance to cut down on the time they must spend in-store.

We’re immensely proud that, no matter the retail format, Preoday’s platform has the flexibility to suit. Our technology is already in place at restaurants and food-to-go retail spaces around the world. We’re geared up to meet the needs of the forecourt/convenience store market, so expect to see Preoday’s technology in place at a forecourt near you, soon.

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