Despite the fact that online shopping has grown at an enormous pace in the last 20 years, brick-and-mortar stores are still as important as ever. This is mainly because the online store experience still fails to give the user real contact with the product to be sold. Here’s the report from Market Track.
The concept I explain here can be applied to any store such as, Walmart, Target, Amazon Go, and grocery stores like, Sprouts, Trader Joe’s, Aldi, Food Lion, etc.
Walmart is using technology to improve shopping experience offline and online, but there’s always scope for more improvement.
It’s been around 5 weeks now since I saw Walmart’s store-issued scanner device for the first time in one of the Walmart stores in Mountain View, CA.
I was surprised and curious when I saw the device for the first time. So, as curious as I am towards trying new things, I tried it out. I liked using the device as it was easy to scan products I was interested in buying and wouldn’t take as much time at checkout. There were special carts designed to hold the device while shopping. So far so good. The device was proving to be pleasantly convenient.
There were some things that I found during my shopping trip that would have made the experience even better. Some of my concerns were that:
- 1. I couldn’t delete any item from my cart on that device. I was only able to delete the item from my cart when I went to the self check out section before making my payment and for that too I had to call a store associate to help me delete the item from my order.
- 2. There was no place to put/return the device near the self-checkout register after I scanned the device to make a payment through the register. Convenience and verification was missing at this point. I thought there should have been a place near the self checkout registers where one could return the devices and that would automatically register within the system that the device has been returned.
- 3. There were a few items in the toys and electronics section I couldn’t scan.
What more could be done? I’d like to share some reading material about what some enterprising folks are doing to further expand the shopping experience.
I read an article some time back about shopping on the way to work in South Korea: https://www.designboom.com/technology/tesco-virtual-supermarket-in-a-subway-station/
I just read an article about how Kroger is taking a direct shot at Amazon and Walmart and making checkout lanes obsolete. http://www.businessinsider.com/kroger-customers-check-out-without-registers-or-cashiers-2017-12
Currently, customers still have to go to the register to pay in Kroger stores. Making payments using the Kroger app will be introduced soon.
So, I thought to combine the aforementioned 2 processes from the reading material I shared.
After reaching a Walmart store,
1. I don’t want to take any cart. (I just dislike carts. I don’t like to push around carts in any store.) I scan the products I want using the store-issued trackable scanner device.
2. I pay on that device itself. No need to stand in line, including the self checkout lane, for the payment.
3. After the payment, I expect Walmart to deliver my order to my address in my account or any given address.
This takes care of the combination of, in-store buying experience, technology (made it easy to carry my items in cart) and delivery (at my home in 2 hours where I don’t have to worry about taking products first to my home).
As a consumer, I have achieved a few things here:
I like to see items first before I buy, e.g., groceries.
I want to carry the scanning device to make me feel stand out.
My order will be delivered to my address in 2 hours. So, I can go anywhere I want after checkout and that could be to watch a movie or to pick up my neighbor’s kid from school or to go to gym or to go to a meeting.
I saved dead mileage (UBER and LYFT, please notice this. Just saying. You might already have thought about this as I don’t have to go home just to drop the products I just bought.)
This experience is both convenient and enjoyable. I would definitely be a very happy returning customer.
I will provide following analytics in my next blog:
- 1. Cost analysis to implement this featured process
- 2. Possible sales growth and brand building analysis
- 3. Impact on metrics, like, returning visitors, CAC
Please provide your feedback.
I hope that this fostered food for thought. You can also find me on @jwalantpatel. If you like my blog, please subscribe.
January 18, 2018