In the last few years a number of E-commerce companies and retail businesses have been slowly moving towards offline store models. “The offline store model is not going away. Successful retail companies have adapted to the changing trends and customer expectations by investing in technological solutions that improve offline customer experience a number of ways,” expresses William Hogben, CEO, FutureProof Retail. “The most interesting trend right now is a shift towards customer centric experiences which put the customer in charge.” FutureProof Retail is the brainchild of its dynamic founding team, Di Di Chan and William Hogben who decided to come up with a solution that enables customers to instantly checkout without waiting in lines. Founded in 2015 FutureProof builds customer-centric technology solutions that add the personalization and the convenience found with E-commerce shopping to the offline shopping experience. Within the next three years, FutureProof amassed a broad customer base with clients in 3 continents doing grocery, fashion, micromarkets, stadiums and more.
With the growth of retail technology platforms such as cloud-based POS tools, price-tracking, CRM, signature-capture applications, retailers have an array of options to select in order to invest to get their businesses to the next level of retailing. However, the biggest hurdle is to moving fast enough. “The fundamental pace of change at stores must increase to match the rate of innovation,” says Hogben. “Retailers who are only getting going on cloud POS, CRM etc now are losing time – these are basic technological enablers that need to be in place to offer a competitive customer experience in the future.” The FutureProof Retail solution is many steps ahead of the conventional retail solutions in the market. It is dedicated to providing the best of online shopping into the store, with line free checkout, order ahead, personalized deals and much more. “We don’t just make in-person shopping on-par with online, we make it even better than online!” beams Hogben. “Instead of building a virtual basket with product photos, with FutureProof Retail’s system customers can handle the real products and make judgements in person.”
Additionally, the solution also has the option of instant line-free checkout whenever the customer or user is ready. “It is better than online because instead of waiting for shipping you walk away with everything you want” adds Hogben.
FutureProof Retail’s Mobile Checkout solution has seen broad uptake in a variety of industries. One of the most surprising to Hogben was the growing micro-market segment – customers that generally operate small stores via ‘cash in the box’, vending machines or expensive kiosk systems. With FutureProof’s solution, the vendors receive payments from customer who are paying via credit card using the app on their phone. “The reception of Mobile Checkout solution in this segment has been has been unbelievable – we’re adding new micro-markets all the time and the space as a whole is projected to grow 40 percent year over year,” says Hogben.
Recalling the early stages of FutureProof Retail business, the CEO reveals the efforts that went in to understand the number of different operational layers that retail customers needed support with. “It took us over a year of constant refinement to be able to ensure loss prevention, properly handle weighted produce, provide service at deli counters, automatically clean dirty POS data etc. Today, the biggest way we address the needs of retailers is with extreme efficiency,” says . FutureProof’s solutions are developed with the intention of keeping its clients’ investment in store hardware as small as possible and ensuring their staff can self-train on the system.
Most of the customers that FutureProof Retail has engaged with have had customized and bespoke systems including POS system, external loyalty components, inventory management, etc as part of their tech stack. However, with FutureProof Retail’s platform approach, the retail customers didn’t have to choose between offering line free services and sticking to what makes them unique. With the wide applicability of its solutions, FutureProof served the needs of customers in the fashion segment with integrated RFID article tracking and scanning and a legacy POS system that is interoperable with a code base which is nearly 20 years old. In addition, the company also connected an external loyalty program to give customers a seamless rewards experience across line free and other touch-points and much more. One major European customer even uses the platform with physical gates, which prevent exit from the store until merchandise is paid for.
FutureProof Retail has a few exciting announcements coming soon. “The future is about connecting things, and to that end, we’re partnering with and connecting to everyone who believes the same. Our roadmap includes continual growth of the existing line free checkout platform and a significant streamlining of the deployment process,” concludes Hogben.
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