Digital signage, Near field communication and Slf-service checkout will be used to retain customers. Some of them comment…

For brick-and-mortar retailers, “the next step in the battle to retain customers is to streamline the buying experience, bringing it more in line with Internet shopping in terms of ease and speed of transaction,” according to market-research firm Datamonitor.

Datamonitor analyst Alex Kwiatkowski says that retailers will turn to the following technologies (sprinkled with my own cautionary comments):
 
Digital signage: Though expensive, it’s the fastest-growing advertising medium. The ads can be tailored to the audience, and proximity sensors can determine when someone is nearby and boost the sound level until the person leaves. (Comment: But it adds to the number of advertisements bombarding us throughout the day.)
 
Near field communication (NFC): A form of RFID technology used for ‘contactless’ payments. It’s fast, and tends to increase “average spend per transaction.” Kwiatkowski says: “Major retailers who do not implement the technology face being left behind as customers demand ever-faster transactions, a trend exacerbated by the ease and speed of online retailing.” (Comment: But there are security and privacy concerns.)
 
Self-service checkout: It cuts costs, queue times and shrinkage, while providing a solution to employee shortages. “The technology is popular due to its ability to cut checkout time with one attendant capable of overseeing up to six checkout terminals….” (Comment: For this reason, it’s not popular with labor unions.)

Its worth exploring

Let’s see…

I already refuse to fill up at my corner Shell station because they insist on playing ads the whole time I’m at the pump. The first time a store hits me with ads coming from the shelves is the last time I’m going to visit that store.

Personally, I don’t care if I save 10 seconds with a contactless form of payment. If it saved 10 minutes, that might be worth looking into, but I’ve never seen a line that makes me wait that long because of the form of payment (except when the communications line to the credit card company is out of whack or the computer is down and you get a clerk who doesn’t know how to make change without being spoon-fed the amount).

My experience with self-service checkout is that it’s slower than the same process being handled by a clerk (not counting line time). Why? Because the clerk is experienced, and most self-service users seem to have the same lack of intelligence as the people who get in front of me at the ATM. It doesn’t help, either, that no two self-service checkouts are designed the same way, so every time you go to a new store you have to re-read all the instructions.

On top of all that, I don’t expect a lightning-fast “shopping experience” when I visit a store in person (although it would be nice if clerks wouldn’t gab with their friends in line when others are waiting). We don’t all value speed above all else. I would suggest Datamonitor re-evaluate whatever it is they’re smoking and talk to some real people.

When “brick and mortar” becomes less expensive and more in line with ecommerce sites then I will do more business with them.
Price DOES matter but if it is only a few dollars higher I would rather get it now and have the convenience of having somewhere to take it back if it is DOA or something goes wrong in the first 30 days.

But when I see the sunday ads and look at the equivalent online it is usually a great deal less expensive to get it online.

(Comment: For this reason, it’s not popular with labor unions.)

Having observed and used it at W*l-M*rt and at supermarkets, it’s not only labor unions — these things are sometimes tricky and customers are often finding them hard to use. And sometimes waiting for the one attendant to come and unstick a register station becomes tedious.

By Mitch Betts on Wed