How can retailers in today’s “connected customer” world innovate the checkout experience?

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For customers, it’s no longer just about buying a product or service. It’s about delivering memorable experiences from their favorite brands. In today’s connected economy, customers are placing more value on their experiences than the products or services they’re consuming. They want experiences that make their lives easier and precisely reflect their preferences, needs and aspirations.

Just think about it for a minute. Years ago, a Moment of Truth with a brand was when a customer in a store interacted with a salesperson or spoke with a customer service representative by phone. With the beginning of the Internet of things and e-commerce, the number of these touch points have been remarkably multiplied.

In today’s era, these empowered customers have knowledge, choice, and high expectations of retailers and brands. Customers aren’t just looking for simple and fast. They are asking for memorable experiences, personalization and proactivity, and the brands which can deliver will have their market share to show for it.

Shaping the customer journey and Moments of Truth is becoming more and more challenging for brands and retailers, unifying the online and offline model to create a seamless shopping experience.

The checkout: a moment of truth in the customer’s journey


One of the moments of truth during a customer’s journey is the moment of checkout. Customers consistently express that making a purchase is the most painful part of the shopping experience. Even though most people today still prefer to shop instore, they say that the checkout process is their biggest pain point. Long waiting lines at checkout are one of the main reasons that customers turn to online shopping.

Think about it for yourself, has it ever happened to you in a store where arriving at the cash desk with items you really wanted to buy, the waiting lines were so long that you left with nothing in your hands but frustration? It will be unlikely for you to come back and will cost sales to the business. Boredom is probably the biggest mood-killer. Retailer’s need to innovate the checkout process, to become more efficient and convenient and eliminating irritants.


Innovative checkout experiences


The Payment moment of Truth, PMOT, in a brick and mortar store doesn’t have to be necessary visible. For example, at Amazon Go, customers buy without stopping at a checkout to pay, the so called “Just Walk Out” shopping. Their store is based on the notion that the customer’s payment experience is supreme and the PMOT is their single point of differentiation.

Supermarkets like Sainsbury’s and Tesco have installed the ‘shop, scan and go’. With the application shoppers are able to scan their items on the app, then pay for them through Apple Pay and leave the store without dealing with checkouts. Technology and changing customer shopping habits have transformed the way people buy their groceries.

Nespresso introduced a self-checkout kiosk. After selecting items for purchase and placing them together in a basket or bag, the customer goes to the self-checkout terminal and places the bag in the kiosk’s recessed area. Shoppers then have the option of paying either with credit card, or with their mobile. Customers want the payment methods they recognize and the currencies they use daily.

But of course, small retailers don’t always have the resources or technology to provide a smooth checkout and reduce those long waiting lines, nevertheless there are several ‘low-cost’ ways to makes those queues ‘enjoyable’. Look at Disney for example, in their amusement parcs they have cameras and large interactive screens that allow visitors to see themselves and play games. This simple trick makes customers feel as though they’re already being entertained. Another way to make visitors feeling recognized is by asking them to text their favorite jokes while waiting. Some of these jokes end up featured in the actual show, and the submitter even gets a mention in the credits.

Between many other cost-effective techniques are for instance queue management, so people don’t have to line up and can browse through the store while waiting. It is all about customer choices and convenience.


Extens Consulting at your side


At Extens Consulting, we can help you mapping your customer journey, to get a holistic approach to understanding the flow of experiences a customer has with your business. Creating of a detailed buyer persona and identifying customer pain points, will enable the co-constructing of innovative cost-effective approaches to ease both the customer and employee journey.

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