When it comes to creating new technology, retailers are leading the way with advances that are changing the way people shop, so we’re examining the most cutting-edge ideas, with some takeaways of how you can implement the user experience in your own store. A leader is Amazon, whose innovations include same-day delivery by drone and a robot-driven warehouse cuts fulfillment time from an hour to 15 minutes. It’s their latest advancement, however—the Amazon Go convenience store—that might change the face of retail by eliminating the need for cashiers, checkout lines and even cash.
“The future has arrived, and the shift is going to be focused around convenience, simplicity and enjoyability,” said Casey Gannon, VP of marketing at mobile e-commerce platform provider Shopgate, in an interview with RetailCustomerExperience.com. “These factors build brand loyalty to keep customers coming back again and again. The future is about using technology to craft remarkable brand experiences. Amazon Go’s use of mobile technology to respond to the demands of consumers will set the tone for other retailers to follow.”
Amazon calls the technology “Just Walk Out Shopping,” and while you probably won’t be implementing it quite yet, there are takeaways you can glean from the experiment.
1. Time Is Money
For many people, shopping is an enjoyable experience. Waiting in line to checkout? Not so much.
“What most surveys have shown is that the biggest pain point in physical shopping is waiting on a line to pay your bill after you’ve picked out all the items that you want, and so they have eliminated this annoyance from consumers’ lives,” said Wharton School marketing professor Barbara E. Kahn during a SiriusXM radio interview for Knowledge@Wharton.
How can you speed up your process? It could be as simple as offering more forms of payment, such as with mobile devices. Adopt mobile point of sale technology, where sales associates can checkout customers inside the store rather than sending them to a line. Or offer in-store pickup for online shopping, with a separate area for quickly retrieving purchase.
2. Customers Will Trade Data For Value
To shop at Amazon Go, customers must register and download an app that is scanned before you can enter the store. Once inside, cameras and sensors record every move, collecting a wealth of data on shoppers’ buying habits and preferences.
While this may seem like an invasion of privacy, Amazon is tapping into Americans growing willingness to share personal information. About half of us would give up privacy to get something of perceived value, according to Pew Research Center.
“We have gotten used to making a trade-off between convenience and privacy,” said Wharton School management professor Maurice Schweitzer in an interview with Knowledge@Wharton. “For example, should I allow Google maps to know my location? It makes sense that retailers are taking this a step further, because the ability to collect, analyze and use data about customers has gotten so much better.”
What kind of data could you collect that would allow you to better serve your customers? Seventy-nine percent of shoppers would welcome personalized offers from stores based on their purchase history, according to Salesforce. Product recommendations and loyalty programs save customers time and money, and that encourages repeat transactions.
3. Rethink What’s Possible
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut because that’s the way business has always been done. Changing policies and procedures can be a chore, but Amazon has built its success by reimaging the retail industry. Instead of assuming limitations based on the past, be willing to innovate to address customer pain points. One way to find new solutions is by holding a “bad idea” brainstorming session, suggests Tina Seelig.
“Stupid or ridiculous ideas open up the frame by allowing you to push past obvious solutions,” she told Fast Company. “There is no pressure to come up with ‘good’ ideas. Then, those terrible ideas can be re-evaluated, often turning them into something unique and brilliant.”
Amazon is a retail leader because it is willing to imagine and try something different, even if it fails. What new idea can you implement today?
Explore how Epson retail solutions can help your store stay at the leading edge of shopping experiences.