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Checkout queues – soon to be a thing of the past?

André Stoorvogel, Director, Product Marketing – Payments, Rambus

European retailers need to maximize shopping experience as Amazon Go heads to Europe

Amazon has been a source of stiff competition for online retailers around the world of many years. And, with the launch of its Amazon Go concept store in Seattle last year, the online giant brought itself out of the cloud and into direct competition with brick and mortar stores.

Its aim is simple – “No lines. No checkout.”

With Bloomberg reporting that the U.K. has just approved trademarks for Amazon’s next-gen stores, it’s clear Amazon is looking to take a slice of the $800 billion global grocery market, pushing US and European retailers to keep pace or risk falling behind. But how can they deliver a better buying experience without exploring the bleeding edge world of artificial intelligence, computer vision, and data pulled from multiple sensors like BLE beacons?

The future of retail is here

It is clear that physical stores are still an important consumer channel. A report by Bain & Company even claims that 75% of sales will still occur in a physical location in 2025. This is fundamentally about experience; carefully choosing something is visceral, even pleasurable. The challenge is to remove the pain of queueing and paying. This is where decisions are questioned and spend reduces. Even more importantly, 86% of consumers avoid stores with long queues.

It is good news, then, that the technology retailers need to revolutionize the in-store buying experience through a branded mobile app is now readily available.

Let’s start with streamlining the checkout process. Sure, Amazon Go has the potential to provide a great experience, but retailers can go a long way towards achieving this through an app that allows in-aisle payments and order-ahead functionality. This removes the need to queue, reducing drop out and increasing margins.

But the benefits don’t end there, the best platforms can help merchants to make shopping experiential and increase brand engagement. Adding value is a big part of this. Think about the convenience of a single app that lets you easily pay with a combination of credit, points and coupons with the click of a button. Augmented reality can also be used to offer more information on a product in real time, and data can enable hyper-personalized offers and benefits to customers as they enter and shop. Digitizing vouchers, receipts, advertising and plastic store credit, gift and loyalty cards also simplifies life for both consumers and retailers, while reducing overheads.

So, the challenge has been issued. The in-store shopping experience is changing and retailers need to react. Using digital mobile wallets in the right way can enhance the buying experience, reduce operational costs and increase revenues, without the associated complexity of other deployments. Consumers are beginning to expect more from in-store and smart retailers have an opportunity to get ahead of the curve before the digital giants claim the highstreets too.

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