What does it mean to future proof your brand? It means making sure your organization adapts to the ways consumers want to interact with your brand.
The consequences of not future-proofing your brand can be dire. One need not look any further than MCI WorldCom. Before declaring bankruptcy in 2003, MCI WorldCom was the second largest long distance telephone company in the United States, with a market capitalization of more than $186 billion. If it was still in operation today, with the same market cap, it would be the twentieth largest company in the world – edging out stalwarts like Coca-Cola, Oracle, and Home Depot.
In our last Future Proofing Your Brand post, we wrote about how innovating the way products are delivered to customers can make the difference between being a good or an excellent company, and possibly the difference between being “in business” and “out of business.”
In this post, we will discuss an equally important step in keeping your firm out of the dead pool. Adopting cashless and self-checkout can cut the amount of time your in-store customers spend standing in a line.
To be fair, cashless checkout is not a new technology. It has been around at least as long as checks, which have been in the mainstream for more than a hundred years. Payment cards have been on the scene since Diner’s Club issued their first card in 1950. In the last two years, cashless checkout has grown by leaps and bounds due to innovative products like Apple Pay, Google Wallet, and Samsung Pay. Coupling payment cards with our omnipresent mobile devices saves consumers time, and increases the throughput of in-store checkout lines.
The power of cashless checkout can be fully realized when combined with self-checkout, and the consumer interacts with point of sale equipment instead of a human cashier. In many industries, self-checkout has become the norm. A recent study commissioned by Canon Equipment Corporation verified that one-quarter of all grocery checkout aisles in the U.S. are powered by self-checkout stations.
Below are our recommendations for some best practices and shortcuts to leverage the power of cashless and self-checkout.
- Do a Little Line Busting – There’s no reason customers should have to wait in line for more than a minute or two. Equip your sales staff with mobile card readers, and have them intercept customers whenever there are more than two in line.
- Leverage the Power of NFC – Most businesses already face the challenge of upgrading their point of sale environments to support EMV “chip” cards in compliance with recent mandates. It naturally follows that these businesses will also purchase equipment to support NFC technology – instantly accepting Apple Pay, Google Wallet, and every other NFC-powered payment mechanism.
- Give Self-Checkout a Try – Consider installing a self-checkout aisle in your retail environment. Customers will love your brand for making their shopping experience quicker and easier. Not all businesses lend themselves to a self-checkout aisle. Fortunately, there’s another way to enjoy the benefits of self-checkout without compromising the aesthetics of store design – allow customers to make in-store purchases using a native store app installed on their mobile device.
There is much to discuss on this topic and we will cover this in future blog posts. However, before we end this one, we’d like to put forth one prediction.
“Five years from now, making a purchase in a retail store will be an experience as different from today as today’s shopping experience is from 1950.”
Cashless and self-checkout powered by new platforms from leading technology companies like Apple, Google, and Samsung, will completely rewrite the way consumers think about in-store shopping.
Check out our next installment of Future-Proofing where we discuss iBeacons.
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