Q&A – Mark Crysell, Regional Sales Director for Northern Europe, Ergonomic Solutions
Mark Crysell is the Regional Sales Director for Northern Europe, MEA & APAC, working for Ergonomic Solutions in various roles since 2000.
What does your company do? / What is your USP?
Ergonomic Solutions addresses two mission critical elements in retail. We are all about ergonomics at the point of sale. 24 years ago, our signature SpacePole® technology mounting solutions brought about a space-saving, cohesive hardware layout that created a blueprint for contemporary checkout design, that is still the de-facto standard today.
Secondly, our role is all about providing technology enablement. Being able to provide mounting solutions that enable different technologies to work seamlessly together is where our expertise can help our customers create that dynamic in-store experience.
We have been working with retailers and technology partners for over 24 years and being agnostic in our approach has allowed us to partner with the very best in POS, payments and self-service to develop and deliver solutions that are used worldwide.
What’s special about the platform and your approach?
Technology is evolving at a rapid pace. Keeping the total cost of ownership as low as possible for the retailer drives our design and development processes. Our technology mounting solutions provide a uniquely modular system which allow for the upgrade of hardware with minimal changes to the mounting solution itself. We can also customise and design solutions to suit the specific technical requirements to meet any bespoke customer needs.
Our solutions reflect a new reality. That modularity used so successfully in our traditional static solutions is now helping to deliver a range of mobile solutions that reflect customer expectations. We are also enabling portability by pairing devices, charging them and providing practical accessories that bring the technology to the customer anywhere that’s convenient to them.
How does a product/service implementation actually look like and how do you measure success?
A successful roll out requires very close coordination between all the parties involved. Those relationships are born out of the ability to understand the issues being addressed by the end user, and the challenges faced by the systems integrator or furniture company around the installation of the required hardware. The success of the roll out is dependent upon that groundwork done by the product design teams during the early stages. Complex roll outs need to work like clockwork – delivering the right product at the right time and to the right place.
Our production facility in Denmark brings our design, support and production teams together in one location. A high degree of advanced automation allows us to be agile and deal with multi-faceted scenarios.
The simple answer to measuring success is to be sure that the technology is delivering the benefits that the end user had intended. We could say that if our technology mounting solution is basically “invisible” to the retailer, then we have successfully done our job.
How are retailers using your systems to gain competitive advantage and what does best practice look like?
The pandemic has been a huge disrupter, but it has ensured that the retail and hospitality sectors now focus on both staff and customer wellbeing. We’ve been able to use our in-house expertise to create the SafeGuard product group that’s compatible with existing SpacePole solutions to help businesses provide that well-being and social distancing best practice in an environment that will play an important part in generating customer loyalty at a time of great uncertainty.
What advantage does it add?
The advantages of mounting technology are proven. We have all been in retail, hospitality or transportation scenarios and experienced the difference of using mounted payment terminals as opposed to those just lying on a counter. With arms full of shopping, bags, or children, having a secure and stable mounted terminal is simple to use, far more accessible and easier to key in your pin or make a contactless payment. No need for your other hand to stop the terminal moving across the surface as you try to insert or present your card A payment device that is mounted is far less likely to be dropped, suffer cable damage or ingress from liquids.
One of the key benefits of using SpacePole is the upgradability and modularity that the solution allows. Typically, this might be the placement of additional technology beyond the original specification – for example organisations wanting to add a scanner for customer loyalty programs at the point of sale.
Since the COVID pandemic we have seen a greater emphasis on customers wanting to handle all technology touchpoints themselves, rather than hand over their own smartphone or loyalty card for someone else to scan. We have recently upgraded a high street coffee chain, and several leading supermarket chains with a scanner bracket adapter attached to their existing SpacePole payment mount, so that customers can do just that. This upgrade offered a great uplift in customer service and confidence, whilst requiring very little investment, by the retailer.
What challenges and opportunities do you see in UK retail for 2020 / What challenges are retailers facing in 2020?
Six months ago, it was all about remaining relevant and using technology to develop a personal experience that engenders customer loyalty. But the pandemic has changed that – or given that relevance a new direction of travel.
Retail has only really paid lip service to customer and staff welfare, but post COVID-19, they will need to continue to ensure that all those in-store feel safe.
Making that point of transaction or point of service simple, faster, and as frictionless as possible adds real value to the in-store shopping experience. Customers will reward stores with their loyalty if they provide effective and fast point of sale processes – meaning that shoppers can shop and pay hygienically and keep to social distancing measures.
We’re seeing an increased interest in self-service kiosks, mobile payments and mPOS solutions that can move the payment transaction away from the traditional and static, point of sale, allowing customers to pay anywhere in-store for quicker and faster purchases.
How will you address these challenges and turn them into successes?
As an organisation, we have to take that holistic view of bricks and mortar retail. Wherever there is an interaction between a customer or operator and the technology that they use, is where we will focus our energy. Throughout our 24-year history we have been at the forefront of providing solutions that enable the latest technology to improve the customer and operator experience.
What is on the horizon for you as a company?
The “relevance” message is as appropriate to us as a supplier as it is for the retailers. If Coronavirus has taught us anything, it is to be prepared for the unexpected.
In double-quick time, we have developed solutions that offer our customers a way to protect staff and consumers providing customer confidence and looking after personal wellbeing, which is the driving force behind the SafeGuard Product Group. But now that the doors are open again, we must use our experience and expertise to help retailers deliver a new type of customer experience.
The Ergonomic Solutions Group needs to be a facilitator for the technology to work for both the benefit of the customer and the retailer. The ability for the consumer to pay anywhere in-store puts the transaction place and time in their hands. Smartphones, hand-held computers and tablets are in use in store already for many applications, and so using a sled or mounting solution to pair them with a payment terminal to create an instant mPOS solution does not require a huge extra financial investment in technology – just a smarter one!
Any final thoughts?
The hard bit of retail is to persuade someone to buy something. The execution of the transaction needs to be as slick, quick, and as uncomplicated as possible. With the contactless limit now raised, more of those transactions are becoming frictionless and therefore quicker, without physical contact and queuing.
With fewer people in-store, Shoppers must be quickly turned into buyers. Footfall is more critical than ever – simple economics dictate that. Technology is the great enabler, and our solutions help deliver the benefits of those technologies, at the point of sale, point of payment and point of service.
To find out more about Ergonomic Solutions technology mounting and mobility solutions:
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