Faced with strong competition by online stores, retailers are looking for new ways to improve customer service and lower operating costs. They have found mobile technology to be the key for achieving this goal. Scan-as-you-go mobile devices are a logical next step after the self-checkout used by many retailers. Retail experts predict the new mobile-based retail devices could eventually bring about the end of traditional cash register systems. The mobile checkout stations pioneered at Apple stores appear to be the future. The goal is to speed up and improve customer service and to keep consumers in stores and spending.
Ahold USAâ€™s Stop & Shop retail stores use a mobile device called Scan It that hangs on the handle of the shopping cart and allows customers to shop and scan as they go through the aisles. If there is a coupon for an item, the device quickly gives the customers a credit and the total is recalculated. The device is smart enough to alert the customer if there is a coupon for a complementary item, such as coffee creamer if the customer has purchased coffee. Shoppers who use the Scan It device spend about 10 percent more than average.
Clothing retailer Nordstrom is also using mobile devices, which it issues to its sales associates on the floor so they can scan items on the spot and let customers pay without going through the cash registers. The Home Depot uses a device called First Phones as an inventory tracker. If the item is out of stock, First Phones quickly notifies the customer whether a nearby store has it, then holds the item for the customer to pick up. Starbucks is using a digital wallet model that allows customers to pay using their smartphones.
- According to this case study, what is an upcoming key technology that will be used in retail stores to improve customer service? And how it is currently being used?
- What will be the role of smartphones in the future of shopping? Support your claim with a reference.