This blog is by Phil Crossley, Business Development Director at Teleperformance UK.
Supermarkets in the UK have long experimented with various self-service ideas to help customers get their shopping and checkout faster than was traditionally possible with a regular checkout. Self-service checkouts are in use in many stores, despite many customers disliking the experience, because a single staff member can easily oversee problems at many checkouts. Self-scanning has also been in use for several years at some of the big chains too.
However, Waitrose took it to a new level recently by creating a smart phone app that allows the phone of the customer to become the scanning device. This is a great idea because customers are much more familiar with their own phone, compared to a standalone portable scanner, and system improvements can be easily rolled out using standard app store platforms.
Boots has recently launched an app called Sales Assist that is designed for employees to use in-store. This offers information on every product sold in addition to holding inventory data. Customers asking about products can get the latest information thanks to the app and if items are not available they can know immediately if a neighbouring store has it, or when it will be back in stock at the store they are in.
I really like the development across many retail companies in general to give more power and information to both employees and customers. Customers are already getting used to this kind of information being normal when they visit e-commerce sites so it’s important to ensure that the in-store experience keeps up so a true omnichannel can be developed where it doesn’t matter which channel the customer uses because the experience is always great.
I think many of these retailer apps will also be performing a ‘check in’ function soon to alert the retailer that the customer is in-store. This could be automatic or triggered by the customer, but either way it would allow the retailer to know that the customer is in a store and personalised offers and recommendations can be made available to the customer.
What other opportunities do you see for retailers using apps like this? Leave a comment here or get in touch via my LinkedIn.
Photo by Andrew Stawarz licensed under Creative Commons.