Walk Past The Cashier

Imagine walking into a store, picking out what you want and then leaving without checking out. Amazon made that fantasy a reality when it recently opened its first Amazon Go cashier-free store, writes Kate MacArthur, freelance journalist and Sr. Writer, GenPop.

Five years in the making, says the report, Amazon’s pilot convenience store directs shoppers through an electronic glass gate activated by the store’s app on their smart phones. The app is connected to sensors and cameras that track your every move and tally up your purchases. When you walk out, it charges you and emails you a receipt.

While convenience increasingly contributes to customer satisfaction, it will not translate to shoppers being more loyal, according to John Carroll III, head of customer experience at Ipsos Loyalty. He says that people have been getting conditioned for easy checkout transactions for years in other retail categories like hotels, restaurants and car rentals.

For example, eliminating the checkout line in the hotels “didn’t do a lot,” for hotels, Carroll says. The necessary technology and payment systems were already in place so there were no operational barriers for rivals to copy. For letting guests get their receipts under their room door “The cost to hotels was significant, and yet the loyalty benefit to hoteliers was near zero.”

Alison Chaltas, global president, Path to Purchase at Ipsos, says that instant checkout is more likely to influence how shoppers think about spending. “As new payment technologies explode, we’re taking purchases further and further away from the price and personal money management,” says the report.

That transaction shift could encourage less mindful spending. “The first thing I think will happen is people will purchase more impulsively than they would in a store where you use traditional payments,” says Kit Yarrow, consumer psychologist and author of “Decoding the New Consumer Mind.”

There’s also the potential psychological shift as technology breeds our instant gratification. “More and more we will be expecting faster, easier, more seamless transactions in our lives,” Yarrow says. Which brings us back to the idea that these innovations will become the norm in the not-so-distant future.

To read the original report, please visit here.



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