Editor’s Letter: Why Our March and 30 Anniversary Celebrates Creativity

One from the young generation of Filuet

THANK YOU!

This year, we agreed that March 2022, our anniversary month, should be used to highlight and celebrate creativity. At a time when the world is experiencing so many challenges, the joys of celebrating our 30 anniversary seem insane. However, it can drive us, more than ever, to a place of bliss, even if only for a brief instant. At home, closing your eyes to the rhythm of your favorite song can transport you far, far away. And what about opening up a bottle of good wine and drinking up to the good the future holds? Instant gratification.

30 years seem to be passing by so effortlessly. However, how should we know? 30 years ago, we didn’t really exist. Thinking about those days when my father and grandfather, two immigrants from the USSR, built up a company from scratch – how does it happen? Where did they get the inspiration from? Those days, the conditions in Israel weren’t optimal. Our grandfather, an engineer in his profession (or how he likes to call it – “academic carrier”), and my father, 23 years old boy, built up a brilliant company together on the idea of logistics & international expansion services. We think that these two are brilliant and, at that time, represented the finest of creativity.

It is regrettable that historically, the work of creatives has been undervalued on so many occasions. For instance, see Vincent van Gogh, who died in poverty and with one fewer ear, only celebrated after his passing. Just imagine what could have happened if he found himself a “Marios”, an “Olga”, and an “Omiros” during his lifetime. Naturally, we’re aware that other activities and jobs are of equal or even greater importance than creatives. Yet, we cannot help but think of how creativity is a courier of beauty, depth, and color to our world. It’s the drive to anything we do; It’s the thing that will help us get out of times of crisis. 

This made us think that while creativity is not limited to any region, as Filuet is not, it makes sense to focus our letter on the territories we have not yet “conquered”….

This March marks the 30 anniversary of Filuet. We have had our ups & downs over the last 30 years, but you, our friends, clients, colleagues, and partners, have given us the inspiration and creativity we needed to overcome any crisis and get out even stronger through those hardships. You make us feel prouder every day. Even on such days when the future seems vague, it is still possible to see what the future holds – prosperity and progress. We are confident that we will face any challenges heroically, all thanks to our exceptional people and brilliant minds. Creativity and innovation will push us to do better things and overcome any obstacle. This feeling wouldn’t have been possible without our teams’ creative and innovative minds, which Filuet is fortunate to have on staff – giving us peace of mind when facing new challenges. You are the core of this fantastic big loving company – Filuet.

As you read this letter and watch those pictures, we hope you will feel proud and curious about the stories of success we are shining a spotlight on, from the first launch of the Automated Sales Center through the opening of our offices in Cyprus to the first time presenting the Herbalife24 virtual triathlon. This gives us the optimism to hold up for what the future holds – a world of opportunities ahead at any time. For the next 30 years of our company, we aspire to lead – to lead our partners and clients to new, untapped markets, to help them do what they do best, and to be a pioneer of new technological solutions that will elevate direct selling corporates, their members and distributors in their way to success all around the globe.

We would like to end this letter by thanking the entire team involved in making Filuet what it is today. From the people in the offices, warehouses, and our external contributors, to our partners who supported us even when their businesses were suffering. You are the ultimate reason we put so many hours of hard work into all we do. This is your company, so happy birthday to you, too. Thank you! May the next 30 years will be as good as the last 30.

LETS DO IT!

Meet Filuet – Olga Bestcennaya

This month we are proud to introduce Olga Bestcennaya, our Managing Director in Russia & CIS markets. We are together many many years, we can’t really imagine Filuet history without you, Olga.

So tell us a bit about yourself, your family, fav. way to spend your free time?

I was born in a small Ukrainian city called Berdichev. Being a young Soviet professional, my dad got the job of the city’s Chief Architect, and the family moved there. When I was 17, I left home to study Philosophy and Political science at Saint Petersburg State University. I had an ideal student experience; I met my friends for life and my husband there. The academic education shaped my thinking, while bright minds impacted my personality. I always had that zeal to understand the laws of how the world works, which played well when I was doing my MBA at Antwerp Management School. I love doing business, a thing I have in common with my 23 years old son, which I love to discuss with such things. I spend most of my time at work and with my family. My other interests include mindfulness and embodiment.

Please tell me about your time with Filuet; When do you get on board? How was your journey since then?

My journey with Filuet started 21 years ago. I remember my first days at Filuet when I met Alex; young as myself, approachable, Alex looked like a guy on a mission 😊. Our first project together was to help Ozon to export books to Israel. Since then, the journey was never dull, often challenging and teaching, always encouraging to develop myself professionally. Looking back at the past two decades, I couldn’t wish for a better company for myself to work at, and I still feel passionate about its future.

What person, real or imagined, living or dead, would you most like to have dinner with and why?

If I could go back in time, I would like to talk with my grandfather. As a child, I didn’t know neither could potentially comprehend what a life he had to live. He was from a Russian Cossacks family and became a physics teacher and school principal. Honored as the War hero, he was repressed by communists. He survived the fascist concentration camp and Stalin’s Gulag. My grandfather was the kindest, modest, and most caring person I can remember. 

As these strange times lead us to digitalize our internationality, we would like to ask you your favorite/ dream destination for vacation & the ultimate destination for work is?

I am not a big fan of resorts; many types of those sound rather boring to me, but any World Heritage site or any opportunity to experience the wild nature would make me start packing my bag immediately.  As to the work-life balance, my ultimate destination would be Switzerland. I have good friends there, and being a frequent traveler, I admired many things about the country. Looking forward to opening Filuet branch in Zurich 🙂

Where do you see Filuet 10 years from now?

In 10 years from now, I see Filuet being a wealthy, strong brand, a company with an entrepreneurial spirit and unique business identity, doing business in a few advanced industries across the new Silk Road and beyond, connecting and bridging businesses from different economies and business cultures.

That’s it, would you like to use this opportunity and forward a message to Filuet team?

Dear Filuet team! The following year is going to be remarkable at Filuet. We want to call it a year of HR and dedicate it to our people and talent. I suggest that everyone will have an opportunity to step up and shine. I’m looking forward to making it happen, together!

Meet Filuet – Alex Filippov

It was not a long time ago when this “likely lad” joined us in Filuet, and since he did, Alex Filippov our Set up and support engineer of the automated retail division is doing really well. In his own words: “The most important thing, is that everyone helps each other!” Yes, Alex it really is the most important thing and you are a big part of it! Read the full interview >>

  • Hello Alex! How are you today?

I feel great! I take the early morning shift with that I am early bird, so I feel fresh!

Tell me a bit about yourself: family, Hobbies, Education, Fav. Beverage & meal, Favorite way to spend time?

I am married, and a dad as well, plus I got a son on the way! My prime hobbies are working on sound, that may include anything from music production to games, and other interesting projects. I have a bachelor degree in Sound Engineering and Digital Music as well a Master’s degree in Applied Sound (audio programming and integration with games), all my education was in English since the 6th grade. Part of my hobbies is cooking as well, so I like to try different things with foods and drinks, I am big fan of hummus and sucker for good beer! I spend my time with family, outdoors and sometimes I might have drink with some friends. 

Please tell me about your time with Filuet; When you got on board? How was your journey since then?

 I have worked in different fields, but with a tech mindset, I got on board with Filuet about a year ago. A friend of mine was looking for candidates and he suggested this role for me. It has been an exciting journey so far, I have learned a ton over a year, and got do even few business trips.

What person, real or imagined, living or dead, would you most like to have dinner with and why?

I love music, so I would most likely have dinner with late Joseph Hill. The prime reason is to have a chance to talk about his music, yet also to listen to his views on life! As I would have ton of questions about music production from his era, and I would love to learn about a struggle that one overcomes towards success; as to me that is a key ingredient towards true contentment that one might find in life.

As these strange times lead us to digitalize our internationality, we would like to ask you what is your favorite/ dream destination for vacation & ultimate destination for work?

Vacation for me would be amazing somewhere where there is sun and sea and little bit of history! I would like to work/live somewhere where there would a sea, ocean or a lake! The horizon filled with water, makes me really calm.

Where are you seeing Filuet in 10 years from now?

I think Filuet will rise even larger due to its adaptive innovative solutions that it can offer. Past year we have opened new regions and have furthered our services, in 10 years I see Filuet among global companies spearing further across the globe.

That’s it, would you like to use this opportunity and forward a message to Filuet team?

We have a solid team when it comes to working together. I don’t think I would ever learn so fast if it wasn’t for our team and top management. It is really awesome that our superiors always give different opportunities to try different things. The most important thing, is that everyone helps each other!

Meet Filuet – Alex Rashkovan

Learning the “black market” as a child in Soviet times and reading business books as a teen – these are just two of the things that make our Chairman @AlexRashkovan so interesting.

During our recent conversation with Alex, we uncovered a trove of inspiring stories that have shaped him into the person he is today.

I: Hello Alex! How are you today?

A: As they say in Italy, tutto grande – just great!

I: Tell me a bit about yourself – your family, hobbies, education, favorite beverage & meal, favorite way to spend time, etc.

A: I was lucky to be born into a family of to-be immigrants; my parents had the wisdom to emigrate from the USSR (a country that no longer exists) to Israel when I was just 7 years old. Growing up in Tel-Aviv was super fun, I felt “local” very quickly, I became Maccabi TLV fan (forever!) and started surfing – both being a Maccabi supporter and surfing are the two things that I believe define me, beyond just a hobby. 

After high school, as all Israeli kids do, I served for 3 years in the IDF. I loved my service in the Israeli air force, learned so much and most important acquired my best 3 friends. In 1992, after the army and in parallel to starting Filuet with my Dad, I enrolled into a local college but after 3 months I realized that it is not for me, as I like learning by doing. 

[I am] married to Revital, have 3 kids, Adar, Bar, Yuval. Bar and Adar recently decided to join Filuet and I am super proud and happy that it was their decision to tie up there professional career with Filuet. Which brings me nicely to my favorite way to spend time – traveling with my family to our favourite destinations on the globe, drinking wine and exploring new flavors while listening to our supercharging playlists.  

 I: Please tell me about your time with Filuet. When did you get on board? How was your journey since then?

A: When did I get on board…well first my Dad and I had to create the “board” by founding Filuet on 15.3.1992. I always say that most start-ups have the luxury to start from zero we started with 15,000 $ deficit. My Filuet journey was – and still is – my very own Disney World. As a teenager when my friends were reading spy-books, I was reading business and motivation books. This shaped my international business dreams, which eventually become my Filuet journey. I was lucky to meet along the way great guys like Olga, Marios, Omiros, the Konstantins’s, Ilze, Kristina, Inna, Sara that decided to join the Filuet global journey.

I: What person, real or imagined, living or dead, would you most like to have dinner with and why?

A: My Babushka Eva. She is my inspiration & lighthouse until this very day, as little kid spending time with her on the “black-market” during soviet time shaped my understanding of how trade works, what is buying power, supply-demand. I have no doubt that even in today’s world my Babushka could have offered me great guidance and advice.

I: As these strange times lead us to digitalize our internationality; we would like to ask you what is your favorite/dream destination for vacation & ultimate destination for work?

A: [My] dream vacation destination [is] San Sebastian. [My] ultimate destination for work [is] Filuet’s HQ in Limassol or anywhere in the world with Marios.

 I: Where do you see Filuet in 10 years from now?

A: About a decade ago we produced a short video about Filuet. In 10 years from now, we will still be on our Marco Polo road, introducing our unique business model from country to country.

 I: That’s it, would you like to use this opportunity and forward a message to Filuet’s team?

A: I know that what I’m about to say is a bit naïve but I hope that Filuet is good company to work for, offering a bit of fun every now then and if not please let me know. To wrap up I want to say a very big THANK YOU to the entire Filuet team for spending your time and sharing your talent with us while so many other opportunities are out there!

Herbalife Nutrition New Market Opening, Uzbekistan

Filuet TOS™ Model Case Study

We tackled every aspect of the market approach opening from A to Z, without making our clients endure the entire alphabet…

Filuet’s vision to be the “Marco Polo for Direct sales companies” proved right once again when Herbalife Nutrition finally entered Uzbekistan in August 2020 – and before long, sales in the region were gaining rapid momentum, while overcoming the difficulties in the midst of a pandemic. While the road was far from smooth, the strategy Filuet formulated and implemented – with the TOS model coupled by joining forces with Herbalife’s local sales team leaders and management in the CIS region – Herbalife could finally start selling. Even with market conditions stacked against us.

Uzbekistan is undoubtedly a distinctive country – not only with regards to the Eastern mentality, but also the unique business conditions and regulations. All of these subjects were considered in the strategy creation process. Filuet’s experienced international expansion team investigated the market, legal & tax requirements, importation & certification demands and other business requirements. Beyond our experience with presence in 19 nations, we leveraged the power of both local experts (mostly for requirements gathering) and local Herbalife Nutrition members to better understand their needs. Based on this detailed research, we built a flexible strategy to open the market for Herbalife.

Filuet Total Outsourcing Solution – TOS

The TOS model integrates all IT-systems, business processes, and inventory management with the Herbalife regional management office, and provides all local members with product access and better service through an omni-channel eco-system. There was no need for Herbalife to establish a subsidiary in the new country or hire local staff – the total outsourcing solution, delivered by a loyal and reliable partner, offered a more stable and cost-efficient alternative.


The sales plan we chose, designed, and implemented made it possible to not only kickstart sales for Herbalife in Uzbekistan, but also achieve high indicators in a short period of time.

Even when the premises were ready but unable to operate due to quarantine restrictions, Filuet reacted with a plan – as is in our nature – exploring proactive ways to use the space and staff to enable product access for Herbalife members.

The entire infrastructure (warehouse, office, points of sales) was set-up and operated by Filuet in strict coordination with Herbalife compliance and ESG requirements. From sourcing 21 trustworthy full-time employees to running domestic operations for Herbalife in Uzbekistan – while ensuring legal, tax, product, and corporate compliance, we did it all. From the start, we were tasked with building a sustainable and transparent business, while keeping in mind the need to embed corporate governance, a code of business conduct, and ethics.

Circumstances of Uncertainty and Crisis are NOT an Obstacle for Operating!

Though 2020 was one of the most unstable years globally and in Uzbekistan – with the dawn of the COVID-19 pandemic and the turbulent business climate at the hands of recent regime change – Filuet maintained its signature “can do” attitude to help launch the Herbalife Nutrition Urban Sales & Fulfillment Centre in the heart of Tashkent.

We applaud every member of the team who participated in the project – Well done!

Want to be Filuet’s next featured success story? Contact us today to learn more about what we did for Herbalife Nutrition in Uzbekistan and the CIS region, and how can we assist your business using our unique TOS model. Let’s penetrate new markets and create a better world, together.

1st year celebrations on Zoom

Meet Filuet – Igor Gutsaev

In this episode of Meet Filuet we are happy to introduce our Senior Software Developer Team Leader – Mr. Igor Gutsaev!

Hi Igor! Our software master, can you please tell me a bit about yourself?

Hi! My name is Igor, I’m married with one 7 years old son and an adorable tomcat 😻.

Since I was born, I am living in Russia, where the winter is never ending (which definitely influenced my character and endowed me with patience and nerve of steel). Aviation has always been my passion, so there was no question of where to study- and in 2010 I graduated Moscow Aviation Institute in the specialty of Applied mathematics. I also love hiking, culinary experiments and science fiction.

Please tell me about your time with Filuet; When you got on board? How was your journey since then?

Back at the end of 2018, I was looking for an agile and dynamic team that wants to become a technology company, what lead me to my perfect match – Filuet. Since then, I have built a strong team and an innovative & demanded solution, in which I find a lot of inspiration, and in Filuet team in general. Over the past 2 years we had more than 0.5 million ASC orders!

 Where are you seeing Filuet in 10 years from now?

My feverish dream is for Filuet to become a fully digitalized company and the market leader in the unmanned retail sector during the next decade.

As these strange times lead us to digitalize our internationality, we would like to ask you what is your favorite/ dream destination for vacation & ultimate destination for work?

I don’t know about a specific location, but my ultimate goal is to create a profitable and world-famous product that will be operating all around the world!

What person, real or imagined, living or dead, would you most like to have dinner with and why?

Regarding the person I like to have dinner with, I would say I’d rather meet with my own granddad who died when I was 4. I vaguely remember how we had fun together and regret that he passed away so early.

Meet Filuet – Konstantin Bystrov

In this episode of Meet Filuet we are happy to introduce our IT Director, the one and only – Konstantin Bystrov.

Hi Konstantin! How are you today?

Hi, Currently I am on Dacha enjoy countryside style of life.

Our IT director – Konstantin Bystrov

Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

“My name is Konstantin, I’m married with three children. All my hobbies are related with extreme – sailing, mountains ski, diving. But in the last two years, during Covid lockdown, I started really enjoying fishing with my sons. My favorite cuisine is Italian & French, and mostly it’s related not to pretentious restaurants, but small “home” cafes. I also like to test local cuisines in each country I travel to. Everyday education and new knowledge is a life for IT person.”

Please tell me about your time with Filuet; When you got on board? How was your journey since then?

״I joined Filuet 3 years ago, and I still enjoy the family atmosphere as if I just got in. My role is Filuet group IT Director. I like that Filuet doesn’t stay in one field and always looking for new opportunities in the business world. As I see it, Filuet’s adaptation way of business to rapid changed environment of market is one of its biggest strength. My dream is to meet my colleagues from other countries (offline!!) soon.”

What person, real or imagined, living or dead, would you most like to have dinner with and why?

״I have many interests, from different aspects of life, so I would like to say that from each aspect I would like to meet one person 🙂 From the political world I would like to meet Angela Merkel, from the business world- Elon Musk, actor- Philip Hopkins, and from the science world- Stephen Hawking.”

As these strange times lead us to digitalize our internationality, we would like to ask you what is your favorite/ dream destination for vacation & ultimate destination for work?

“Many of my friends and relatives live in Germany, so I hope to visit them immediately after opening borders. Germany will be good starting point to visit all my favorite places I dreamt visiting during lockdown- Swiss, France and Italy. As for working remotely- Germany is my ultimate destination.”

Where are you seeing Filuet in 10 years from now?

“In 10 years from now, I see Filuet’s digital transformation continues, with no ‘standard’ operations in the business at all. The company will be presented at 110 countries with billion turnover.”

That’s it, would you like to use this opportunity and forward a message to Filuet team?

“I Would like to use this stage and encourage our global team with a statement – Togetherness, Agile, Customer orientation.

If we follow these 3 when coming to work, we can achieve everything!”

In search of truly touchless touchscreen interaction

Retailers using a touchscreen kiosk now searching for a hygiene and quick replacement, in Filuet we have developed the Auto Store App that basically turns the customer personal smartphone to a touchscreen kiosk. Now, let’s find some more brilliant idea trying to solve this issue.

The COVID-19 pandemic sent a lot of marketing managers into a tizzy, especially those relying on customer facing touchscreens. Darren David, who operates a San Francisco based interactive agency, remembers it well. Same happened for us in Filuet, in ,most of the sales centers we are operating for our clients there is an automated touchscreen kiosks, we had to recalculate our approach to our automated retail solutions, the result is our new Auto Store app and queue management system (QMS).

AS App screenshots

“When the pandemic hit, many of our clients started calling and said, ‘What do we do with these touchscreens that were a core part of our customer experience and now they’re a liability?'” the founder and CEO of Stimulant told Kiosk Marketplace in an interview. His company builds multi-touch interactive experiences for retail, corporate and museum clients.

“They were calling us asking for advice and solutions,” he said.

The best advice he could offer on the spot was to turn off the touchscreens, an option that didn’t bode well for his or their business.

When they came up short searching for a solution, David and his team didn’t waste time. They developed their own. In October, the interactive specialists rolled out Freetouch, a solution that lets anyone interact with a touchscreen from the safety of their own smartphone.

Once they snap the QR code with their smartphone, the user can click, drag, scroll and perform multi-touch gestures to interact with the touchscreen without actually touching it. There is no app to download, no hardware to install and no registration required. The interactions are secure and anonymous.

“By offering an easy-to-install and easy-to-use software-only retrofit, we’re enabling companies to remain open and their customers to interact safely during this challenging time,” David said.

Customer response positive

Customer response has been positive.

The Reagan Ranch Center, an interpretive center in Santa Barbara, California, which maintains President Reagan’s “Western White House,” installed Freetouch for its 3,500-square-foot gallery. The center features seven touchscreen-based interactives and hosts visitors from around the world.

“Freetouch allows us to retain all of the functionality of our exhibits,” Brent Kilpper, associate director, said in a press release. “We have it up and running now on our five timeline exhibits and it’s the perfect solution. It’s very simple — you just use your cellphone and away you go. We’re really pleased.”

Electrosonic, a global audio-visual agency that builds tailored solutions for a variety of markets such as videoconferencing and control rooms, museums and theme parks, also praised the solution.

“It helps reinforce relationships with existing clients because we can keep their interactive displays running, preserving the value of their investment,” Chris Conte, vice president of new business development for Electrosonic, said in a press release. “It’s also cost-effective and simple to implement because it doesn’t require additional hardware. The response we’re getting from existing and new clients is overwhelmingly positive.”

“When we reopen, visitors will come back with different feelings and more caution,” said an early beta tester, John Beckman, director of exhibit design and production at Adler Planetarium in Chicago, in a press release.

“Freetouch gives us the opportunity to really not change anything we’re doing in regard to the way our touchscreen displays work, while giving guests the option to interact with them using their cellphones if they wish to. It’s logistically friendly and extremely low friction for us and for our guests as well.”

Demand for contactless to continue

Long-term, David believes a significant segment of the customer base will continue to be touch adverse. This is based on input from many Freetouch customers that believe consumer perception of touch interaction has changed.

“Most operators want to say we offer a touchless option for the touch adverse,” David said.

Operators are also concerned about the uncertain litigation landscape associated with touchscreens, he added. A touchless option can provide some protection from such actions.

“In only six months the conversation has changed from reactive to proactive,” he said.

It won’t be long before users as a whole become accustomed to the benefits that remote management brings to touchscreen interaction.

World Federation of Direct Selling Associations Congress – Filuet announcement

This year we have decided that Filuet will support the WFDSA World Congress XVI “Tomorrow Is Now” and will be a superior partner of the biggest event in the direct selling world. The congress will take place during 6-8 October, 2021 in Bangkok, Thailand, the orient’s popular cosmopolitan of contrast, where modern and traditional characteristics co-exist in true harmony.

List of sponsors and partners\WFDSA2020BANGKOK.COM

The congress is organized by the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations in partnership with Thai DSA. We are going to meet there our industry’s leading figures from all over the world, as well as policy makers, representatives from consumer organizations, academia, media and many others interested to learn about the latest trends in our sector and to network with the peers.

In Bangkok we will have the opportunity to listen and learn from representatives coming from all sections of the direct selling world. All gathering together to share experiences and opinions with special focus on trends driven by technology, evolving marketing and consumer development and other issues of importance in doing business in today’s ever changing marketplace. It will be an amazing learning and cultural experience we all will never forget.

The congress will feature a program with world-renowned speakers to encompass essential aspects relevant to the direct selling industry, whether they may be organizational performance, motivation, personal improvement and many more.

So save the date for this exciting event and don’t miss the most insightful, fantastic experience of the direct selling industry.

We will be waiting in Filuets’ booth with a draft beer and some useful and interesting information about our history, operations, future plans and to talk non-stop about the direct selling industry. 

Preparing for the post-pandemic environment will test retailers’ flexibility

Given public health officials’ recommendations regarding social distancing and minimizing contact with individuals outside the household, self-service checkout is a perfect example of how store digitalization can facilitate important adjustments to the shopping experience.

The coronavirus pandemic has introduced new challenges for businesses all over the world — especially in the retail sector. With retail already undergoing a massive transformation thanks to new, integrated technologies, like machine learning for product recognition, mobile scanning and electronic point-of-sale systems, customer behavior tracking and heightened customer demands, COVID-19 represents a major test of traditional retail models.

As businesses resume operations, retailers have been forced to adjust to new rules and protocols around sanitation, packaging, social distancing requirements and more. In order to successfully navigate this “new normal” while also delivering the service experiences customers have grown to expect, retailers must embrace new tools and ways of doing business — or risk being left behind as the rest of the world enters a period of recovery.

Adaptability and flexibility to be critical

Retailers preparing to adjust to new customer expectations must establish flexible channels throughout their stores — from back-end operations to front-end processes and procedures. They must anticipate and adapt to new customer needs as quickly as they arise. This can include reconfiguring store layouts to accommodate social distancing and ramping up cleaning and disinfecting processes or launch a queue management system to ensure social distancing with the help of technology and take a step further with store digitalization.

Store digitalization will be a key driver of adaptability in the retail space. Digitizing hardware, software and related processes helps reduce friction in customer journeys, making interactions between staff and customers more efficient, and thus, lowering total cost of ownership for the store operations.

Digitalization can take many forms: self-service technology, digital apps, mobile self-scanning solutions and more. Before COVID-19, customers were already beginning to embrace these tools. In a 2019 survey conducted by Nielsen on behalf of Diebold Nixdorf, nearly half of respondents who usually preferred a staffed checkout indicated they would rather use a self-checkout lane if there was a line/queue at the staffed lane.

Given public health officials’ recommendations regarding social distancing and minimizing contact with individuals outside the household, self-service checkout is a perfect example of how store digitalization can facilitate important adjustments to the shopping experience.

The self-service kiosk is another option of retail technology designed to give customers control. As restaurants open back up with new social distancing provisions in place, self-service solutions may quickly become the preferred method of food ordering. Self-service kiosks have been around, but they have adapted to global shifts and become more innovative — and recent events have given new reasons to value self-service kiosks. Grocery store bistros and hospitality hotspots like Dave & Busters are considering kiosks — beyond QSRs — for reloading powerup cards.

Customer and staff journeys must align

In addition to enacting new policies and metrics to create a safe and efficient experience for customers, retailers need to make adjustments to ensure the safety and productivity of their staff. In many cases, this involves redistributing staff members to different store locations or to perform new tasks. Stores may want to station staff members at the entrance to perform temperature checks, as well as outside to help manage lines/queues, sanitize shopping carts and ensure the store does not become too crowded to practice social distancing.

Another approach for retailers would be to optimize the shopping experience for the customer by designing and enabling staff journeys in such a way that staff members are in the right place at the right time to best serve the customer. Even outside the context of a pandemic, customers have always been frustrated when items they wanted to purchase are out of stock.

By continuously monitoring sales and deploying staff members to replenish items as they run out, retailers can align the staff and customer journeys to improve the customer’s experience. To ensure that the customer and staff journey remains intact, retailers must equip staff with the necessary tools to perform these new duties. Once employees have the tools, retailers can then successfully give customers what they want: control with self-service.

Integrated tech drives efficient customer experiences

Now more than ever, customers demand an efficient retail experience that gets them in and out of the store as quickly as possible. Integrated technology can help retailers cater to this important customer priority in a number of ways. In Filuet, we gave it a name – the Omni-Channel sales center.

It can enable shopping options like Buy Online, Pick-up In Store where customers have the option to order items immediately online, or cashierless technology options that give customers control in the palm of their hand. All supported by a queue management system which enable customers book their time and journey for theirs upcoming shopping experience, and gives staff members the opportunity to be in the right place at the right time.

Amazon took tech-driven efficiency a step further when it introduced its first brick-and-mortar locations: fully automated, cashierless self-service stores where technology detects the customers’ purchases as they leave the store and complete their transactions without the customer ever having to stop at a checkout. These locations exemplify the possibilities technology introduces to retailers looking to optimize their customers’ journeys post-COVID and beyond.

There is no denying that retail will look different in a post-pandemic world, but a customer’s experience will remain a key factor in satisfying the need for connection and engagement. Retailers will need to adopt new protocols that challenge them to think creatively through the use of existing technologies, self-checkout, kiosks and/or mobile pay to satisfy these new and possibly permanent needs of customers.

The great thing about these technology options are that not all of them are new — many are tried and proven to be effective.

As we’ve seen firsthand, today’s environment has accelerated the adoption of self-service retail solutions, a trend that will create a lasting effect on long-term customer expectations. Therefore, it is imperative that retailers continuously listen to and respond to their customers’ demands by implementing technology that puts the customer back in control.

By establishing adaptable, flexible channels throughout retail stores, aligning staff and customer journeys, and leveraging experiential technologies to optimize the customer experience, retailers can prepare their businesses to resume operations and embrace the future.

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