11/30/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/30/2021 00:02
But where should investment be focused next? I'm going to divide my recommendations into rising degrees of complexity.
1. The digital generation, very familiar with the latest technologies on their phone, expects the technology and experiences at work to be intuitive, fast, and easy to use. At the simple end of my list of recommendations, fingerprint readers integrated into retail devices, such as tablets or tills, simplify life for employees. They are fast and secure to use, making life faster for the shoppers the employee is supporting, and they ensure only the authorized employee can access the device. This benefits the retailer by removing the temptation to share IDs and passwords between friends, further securing devices that are mobile and may be taken out of the store - or stolen. And it significantly reduces 'forgotten password' calls to the Service Desk after an enforced password update. The cost of this alone could cover the investment of deploying this cost-effective approach across the retail estate.
2. Other simple innovations include wearables or phones connected digitally to retail devices so that on-floor employees or department managers can remotely assist checkout teams, approve authorizations, or confirm price checks without having to repeatedly walk across the store.
3. More complex in-store technologies - like smart, secure, automated age verification of a shopper purchasing age-restricted products at self-checkouts - have significant benefits to employees. This automation reduces the number of interventions in-store self-checkout (SCO) hosts have to make at each self-checkout scanner. Managing and responding to these interventions, checking IDs, and approving the transaction on the device is repetitive and low-value work, tedious for the employee, and open to misuse by friends of employees. Automating this process using secure verification methods avoids frustrating shoppers and speeds the checkout process, increases throughput - and, therefore, revenue at each device. Importantly for employees, it also removes the potential for employee intimidation for refusing to sell items, particularly alcohol, to underage shoppers.
4. Innovations - such as allowing shoppers to request gift receipts for self-scanned purchases in the run-up to peak holiday periods - also reduce the number of interventions for SCO hosts and drive a faster and more independent in-store experience for shoppers using self-checkout.
5. Finally, at the most complex end of the EX-innovation spectrum, I'm recommending automated (or 'no line') checkouts in smaller format sports stadia, convenience stores, or public spaces such as airports, large hotels, and hospitals. These virtually eliminate the need for in-store employees to participate in the checkout process, leaving them available for other more rewarding, higher customer value, and more useful activities in store. The entire process is driven by the shopper who is identified by a mobile app on their phone linked to a payment method, and can enter the store, select items, pay, and leave, all without any interaction with a store employee. This frees up the employee to fulfill a full range of store activities, empowering the individual and bestowing more responsibility. While this might reduce the need for many in-store employees, it also raises the value-to-cost ratio of employees. Rather than lowering headcount, retailers can extend store opening hours with minimal additional cost and make a small number of critical employees personally responsible for each store's success.