The retail industry is firmly in the crosshairs of change. Consumers’ need for convenience and limited tolerance for frustrating checkout processes is driving retailers to find creative ways to remove friction from the shopping experience.
Amazon has aggressive plans to open as many as 3,000 Amazon Go stores by 2021 that allow shoppers to walk in and check out without ever standing in line. Using machine learning and technology similar to what is found in self-driving cars, the shopper’s virtual cart is updated as they pick up items and charged to their payment card stored in their account when they walk out. Several retailers have introduced, or are testing apps. that enable customers to scan items themselves in the stores as they shop and pay via their smartphones.
Since most consumers carry a smartphone with them, retailers should leverage the convenience of customers having a powerful device that is always connected in their purse or pocket. Retailers can develop store apps with checkout software to easily turn a shopper’s smartphone into a mobile checkout. The benefits of transitioning to mobile checkout are many as the data collected can improve merchandising decisions, augment store replenishment, and enhance customer personalization and loyalty. If the physical store is to thrive and survive, retailers must merge some of the digital characteristics from online shopping into the physical environment, to create a convenient and frictionless shopping experience. Since consumers are becoming accustomed to shopping on their smartphones, phones are the logical solution to help improve the in-store checkout experience.
Smartphones have changed the way we live our lives, including the way we shop. The time is now for retailers to bring the ease and convenience of online shopping into the store experience. This will serve to create more efficient stores, less frustrated customers, and a better overall retail experience. Consumers’ phones are cornerstones of the future of retail and smart retailers are harnessing the power of smartphones to improve the customer experience.