Retail’s Latest Evolution: Contact-free LP
Updated: Mar 26, 2021
Stepping out in today’s society can be a sobering reminder of our Covid-19 circumstances, but also a comedic flashback to our childhood woes – Don’t. Touch. Anything! (or anyone!) Contactless experiences have emerged as the top priority for businesses. Restaurants are providing QR codes for contact-free menus, airlines have transitioned to contact-free bag drops & check-in, and colleague-free happy hours courtesy of Zoom and Microsoft™ Teams are all the rage. Seems you can’t even into a building without first being greeted by a bottle of hand sanitizer.
The fact is contactless experiences were on the rise long before the pandemic. Early adopters embraced what would eventually become retail’s digital transformation. Younger, tech-savvy, consumers showed interest in ditching traditional shopping practices in favor of digital and contact-free experiences. In 2020, COVID-19 became a catalyst for the rapid expansion of contact-free offerings. Consumers are just rethinking how they want to experience retail. There is a real fear about the high-touch nature of retail shopping. “We believe there will be an accelerated adoption, coming from retailer push and customer demand in this space,” says Rob Harrold, senior manager with Deloitte’s strategy and operations practice. “What was more of a convenience option has now turned to a ‘safety’ feature” (NRF.com). This evolution helped overcome a very serious threat, enabling essential retail businesses to remain open, during the height of the pandemic. More importantly, the advancement in payment systems, social distancing protocols, barriers, and contact-free experiences kept customers and employees safe.