Amazon Go and the Post Checkout Era Begins
New broke out detailing Amazon’s latest innovate in retail, Amazon Go beta, which opens to the public in 2017. Amazon has built a grocery store equipped with machine learning technology, similar to that in self-driving cars, and is testing out a post checkout, post line waiting era in retail. Here’s the cool Amazon Go video for your enjoyment. Companies like ShelfX and a Swedish entrepreneur have also attempted unmanned grocery stops (before it was cool).
Why is there so much hype surrounding it? Consumers are in and out of the store thanks to Amazon’s “Just Walk Out Shopping” experience. Families and individuals can go into the store, see something on the shelf, and walk out with it while never speaking to an employee (it’s called technology, not shoplifting?).
This means POS users need to start thinking ahead of the curve and preparing themselves for yet another technological advancement. Granted, since the program is in beta, that doesn’t mean things are going to change overnight, but now is a good time to start brainstorming changes so the impact of a new status quo is less severe.
This new shopping experience requires customers to have an Amazon account, a supported smartphone, and the Amazon Go app installed to shop freely. The outside orange square logo display Amazon and Go in large letters, and on the inside there are four bottom menus that users can press “key”, “receipts”, “about”, and “more”.
I speculate they might release for both Android and iOS. Users can enter the store by tapping on “key” and scanning the QR code that appears on screen to pass through a subway-like terminal. That process than activates the shopper’s virtual cart and customers can begin taking goods. Amazon Go automatically updates the user’s inventory in the app when products are detected taken from our returned to the shelves. Customers don’t need to scan out and when they pass back through the terminal, the app sens a mobile notification alerting that a payment was processed, and a digital receipt is then sent to their device.
Snapchat Spectacles and the Engaging Brick and Mortar Space
Snapchat, known as Snap, Inc., released a camera equipped pair of sunglasses called Spectacles that might seem familiar to those who bought Google Glass. TechCrunch reports Spectacles allow users to record video tidbits in a socially accepted style. On November 21st 2016, a pop up shop appeared overnight in New York City where app users and curios consumers initially waited as long as three hours in wintery weather to get their hands on a pair. Inside the brick and mortar store was a single vending machine (SnapBot), where customers choose up to two out of three sunglasses, selling for $129.99 each. I was in the city visiting some friends and decided to snag a pair for myself. While I anxiously waited in line, there were a few thing that I noticed about the store. Snap Inc engaged their users and holiday customers by providing exclusive content. Unique snap codes were placed throughout the queue and shoppers in line were able to entertain themselves by scanning them. The staff was equally as engaging by educating their new product users in-store with personalized customer service.
Showrooming Pains and Frustrations
Retailers will continue to struggle against online sales due to a developing showroom trend that is likely to move forward into the new year. Consumers visiting in-store locations are purchasing goods online later at their own convenience after studying the product in-store. I’ve seen people walk into a store, snapping a quick photo and leaving without a purchase. This can be increasingly difficult for retailers and small business owners to keep a healthy relationship with customers while fighting for their attention. At first glance it might seem as though showrooming is becoming a nuisance, but some retailers are using this as an opportunity to innovate. Small businesses can utilize new technology available to study their target market, improve the ecommerce experience, as well as integrating a seamless purchasing system between online and physical
Personalization and Exclusivity
In a retail world where department stores once ruled the market, small unique ships are are able to provide value, unique in-store experiences, and cultivate relationships with their customers, are embracing the momentum shift. Therefore, offering a unique and personalized shopping experience is vital for customer retention, on-site sales, and business growth. The goal is to add a hint of intimacy and customer care, rather than entertaining customers (depending on your objective and brand).