Retailers remove friction from the shopping experience

When consumers turn to a device to buy something, they expect the experience to be frictionless. Increasingly retailers are looking for ways to reduce the amount of friction both in-store, at the point of sale (PoS) and of course online.  Self-service machines – a staple to almost every supermarket chain – started the craze and despite the confusing interfaces and long waits for staff approval, the consumer has been put in control of their shopping experience, which reduces stress and frustration.

Fast forward ten years and we have seen little in the way of development from these machines, but experts predict that it will only be a matter of a few short years before the face of the high-street changes completely and in turn, the way we spend our money will also change.

Here are some examples of where this is happening in 2016;

  1. The Amazon Dash button makes re-ordering possible with literally just a push of a button. The “Dash button” is a Wi-Fi-enabled, battery-operated, compact device that allows customers to replenish goods by simply pushing a button; each device shows a brand logo and can be hung/stuck to your fridge, pantry, dish-washer, bathroom cabinet or wherever you store your every-day household products.  Push the button and the chosen item is automatically purchased from Amazon at the same (low) price it is sold online – the shipping is free (“Prime” shipping).
  2. Carrying around several loyalty cards in your purse will be outdated as technology progresses and we see the start of this as Starbucks streamlines its app’s barcode screen to show available rewards, offers, and coupons. This way, users won’t forget that they have a redeemable reward and they won’t have to pull up a separate screen to redeem the offer.
  3. Apple’s mobile wallet can automatically detect NFC readers, so users won’t have “wake-up” their phones or open an app to start the payment process.

One of the most exciting things about retail is that we never know what’s around the corner. What do you think the more innovative ideas in retail technology are?