Turbocharging Convenience Stores with Frictionless Checkout

The first Amazon Go store in Seattle opened in January 2018 and was the first commercial implementation of frictionless checkout or “Just Walkout Technology” in the U.S. retail market. Customers scan the Amazon Go app on their smartphone at entry, grab items off the shelves in the store and are automatically charged for their purchases as they walk out of the store. No waiting at checkout counters, being rung up, counting cash or swiping a credit card.  This YouTube video of experience at an Amazon Go store is courtesy TechInsider and Joseph Choi.

 

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Linda Lisanti in her article “Should You Embrace Frictionless Checkout?” at Convenience Store News reports that the two biggest complaints from retail customers “are long wait times in line and poor customer service.” Many retailers offer scan-and-go shopping technology which requires customers to scan items using the retailer app on their smartphone as they put them in their cart and pay at checkout. However, Michael Suswal, co-founder and chief operating officer of Standard Cognition suggests that AI- and machine vision-based autonomous checkout technologies are better, making store experience seamless.

The autonomous checkout technology is especially suited to fast-moving retail formats like convenience stores. Customers come in, pick up a few things and quickly go their way. It can increase the frequency and volume of transactions and be a source of competitive advantage for stores. Their smaller store footprints require fewer cameras and sensors and deployment can be quick and efficient in a matter of days.

Convenience store chain Rickers (acquired by Giant Eagle) will introduce Skip, a mobile self-checkout and mobile cloud point of sale which is expected to reduce average checkout time from 60 seconds to zero, and convert frequent fuel purchasers to loyal in-store customers. Stores can repurpose store space to display more product assortments or services, lower labor costs, free employees to answer customer questions which will improve in-store customer experience and profit margins.

How will autonomous checkout technology impact impulse purchases, an important driver of margins? As more retailers adopt, will it be an expected service (instead of augmented service currently) and dilute competitive advantage for retailers? How can retailers use the data generated to optimize their merchandise planning and operations?

Posted in Part 2: Ownership, Strategy Mix, Online, Nontraditional, Technology in Retailing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

You and Your Next Car: A Match Made in Heaven…or an App?

Despite their love for cars, most Americans do not like shopping for a new car, it rates lower than cleaning toilets or going for jury duty!

Cars.com’s service “Matchmaking Experience” is leveraging proprietary machine-learning algorithms to provide personalized recommendations based on the shopper’s lifestyle preferences.

Patty Odell on ChiefMarketer.com reports:

“Users share their feedback on up to 15 different lifestyle preferences at either Cars.com or on its app. Cars.com then delivers up to 20 recommended matches based on user preferences and sentiment analysis. Users then “like” or “don’t like” the recommendations offered. The Matchmaking Experience then delivers the vehicle matches to the users nearest location.”

“A pilot of Matchmaking Experience has shown promising results: a 752 percent increase in profile creation on the site, 87 percent increase in return visitors, 225 percent increase in email leads and two times the number of page views per visitor versus the traditional search experience.”

Skinner Ricketts, Cars.com CMO believes that the car-matching app and online experience and the campaign will differentiate Cars.com from its competitors in the commoditized auto marketplace category. She says, “Cars.com is not brokering transactions—we’re creating relationships between people and dealers and people and cars.”

The data collected from customers through the matching process can be shared upstream with car dealers and manufacturers to fine-tune their marketing efforts and projecting demand for car models, and customization options.

For insightful information on the complexities of the car purchase process, please check out the following infographic “10 Stats About the Overall Car Buying Process” by Fusion 360 for Mike Hale Acura at Visual.ly

10-stats-about-the-overall-car-buying-process_561844dfdca8f_w1500

Posted in Part 3: Targeting Customers and Gathering Information, Part 7: Communicating with the Customer, Technology in Retailing | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Welcome from Patrali Chatterjee

patrali201.jpg

 

I, Patrali Chatterjee, am honored to be the new author of the BermanEvans Retail Blog.  Joel is a prolific blog writer and meticulous in covering market-relevant topics in retail and marketing. He has set a high standard and I hope I can continue the tradition.

 

I will post blog articles in retail and marketing and I am sure you will notice changes in writing style and “voice.” Given my research focus, you may notice a bent towards e-commerce, customer insights and use of analytics in retail strategy. I will add questions to contemplate and discuss in each blog post. Please feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @DrPChatterjee

 

Thanks to Barry Berman and Joel Evans for inviting me to be a part of this journey. I look forward to connecting with you, our blog readers, starting today.

 

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Introducing the New Author of Our Retail Blog

Since this blog began in January 2012, it has been hosted and authored by Joel Evans, a co-author of Retail Management: A Strategic Approach, 13th Edition. During this time, there have been 1,860 posts! :-). Now, it is time to pass the torch to another co-author, Professor Patrali Chatterjee.

Dr. Patrali Chatterjee is a tenured Professor of Marketing and Graduate Coordinator of the Digital Marketing Program at the School of Business, Montclair State University. Prior to joining Montclair State University, Dr. Chatterjee was Vice Chair and Assistant Professor, Department of Marketing at Rutgers Business School, Rutgers University. She holds a Ph.D. in Marketing from the Owen School of Management, Vanderbilt University. 

Dr. Chatterjee’s research has appeared in several books and academic journals including Advances in Consumer Research, Information Systems Research, International Journal of Advertising, Journal of Business Research, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, Journal of Electronic Commerce Research, Journal of Product and Brand Management, Marketing Science and the Review of Economics and Statistics. She is a co-author of Retail Management: A Strategic Approach with Drs. Barry Berman and Joel R. Evans.

Please welcome Professor Chatterjee. And thank you for your support of our Retailing: From A to Z blog.

Regards.

Joel Evans

Posted in Part 1: Overview/Planning, Part 2: Ownership, Strategy Mix, Online, Nontraditional, Part 8: Putting It All Together, Social Media and Retailing | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Handling Rideshare Drivers

As we know, ridesharing via Uber and Lyft has taken off in the last few years. Thus, a lot has been written about it. For example, see Where Do YOU Stand on Ride-Hailing Apps? Today, we look at handling rideshare drivers. And many types of drivers exist.

Zachary Kee-Clemmer of Siege Media serves as our guest blogger. Zach provides the content. The infographic comes from The Zebra.

 

Handling Rideshare Drivers

Did you know Uber has quickly become the largest tech startup? The rideshare service company topped the second place AirBnB by over $30 billion last year. Uber’s success, and the success of other rideshare services, is due in large part to young professionals who use rideshare apps to commute to work. In fact, it’s often reported that the best time to drive for a rideshare service is weekday mornings because so many people commute using Uber or Lyft.

So, you’ve probably used a rideshare service before. For all its benefits, using a rideshare service can be a bit of a guessing game. You have to ride in a complete stranger’s car and be forced to make conversation — or worse, forced to sit in silence — for the duration of the ride. Sometimes you get lucky and the person is a great conversationalist, has snacks, and lets you pick the music. But more often than not, rideshare drivers make things awkward one way or another.

That’s why The Zebra created a guide to help those who struggle with awkward rideshare drivers. The guide breaks down the 10 most common types of rideshare driver personalities you’ll run into, from drivers who share too much to those that don’t say a word. We give tips on how to deal with each type and the appropriate rating to give for each driver.

Check out the full infographic below. My personal favorites are Wise Wilbur and Traveling Terry.

 

Handling Rideshare Drivers

Posted in Part 2: Ownership, Strategy Mix, Online, Nontraditional, Part 3: Targeting Customers and Gathering Information, Part 5: Managing a Retail Business | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

2018 Universum Survey of Top Global Employers for Business Students

Earlier this month, Universum’s 2018 study of U.S. business students’ top employers was revealed. Now, we look at the 2018 Universum survey of top global employers for business students. And the results are quite interesting.

 

2018 Universum Survey of Top Global Employers for Business Students

For its 2018 global survey, Universum surveyed 111,000 business students

“in the world’s 12 largest economies. For this report, the study took place during September 2017 to April 2018. And students addressed these topics. (a) Which employer characteristics are most influential as they weigh future employment? And (b), Which employer brands do they admire most. To be considered, a company must rank in the top 90% of employers within at least six of the 12 largest economies in the world. Universum’s 2018 World’s Most Attractive Employer report represents its tenth year.”

Key Findings:

“Work-life balance a more immediate focus.”

“Students in search of firms with innovation and purpose-driven impact.”

“Importance of work environment.”

“Gen Z students confident in their future success.”

“Young talent prefers to be built than bought. Thus, this emerging generation puts a significant focus on professional training and development. And development and future earning capacity suggest that employers favoring a ‘build’ vs. ‘buy’ talent strategy attract student talent.”

To download the FREE full report, click here. Then, fill in the simple form.

Below, we show three tables from the report. Click them for a larger version.

 

World’s 50 Most Attractive Employers

2018 Universum Survey of Top Global Employers for Business Students

 

Business Students’ Career Goals

2018 Universum Survey of Top Global Employers for Business Students

 

Business Top Preferences

2018 Universum Survey of Top Global Employers for Business Students

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Consumer Purchase Process Today

Over the summer, we posted about psychology and digital marketing. Now, we focus on the consumer purchase process today.

The way we shop has certainly changed over the years. And so have our choices as to how and where we gather information and buy.

 

The Consumer Purchase Process Today

As reported by Rob FitzGerald for Connext Digital:

“Back in the day, you would meticulously plan a trip to the mall to find that specific product to purchase. Salespeople were gatekeepers of information. And you needed to ask them about anything you needed to know. If you encountered a salesperson who knew all the ins and outs of the product, then you’re lucky. If not, well then, you’re left with very little details that don’t help you make an informed decision. It’s not until technology transformed the way we do things that some tedious tasks became more comfortable to do, including shopping.”

“Now, the digital age lets people browse and buy items right at the palm of their hands, without leaving their seats. The Internet contains the information buyers need to know about products via a simple search. In fact, 81% of shoppers turn to search engines before they make a purchase.”

“Even word-of-mouth marketing and referrals have transitioned online in the form of reviews and testimonials. This marketing strategy dramatically influences a prospective buyer in completing a purchase. More and more people believe online reviews as much as their peers. Businesses have adapted to these changes by setting up their E-commerce Web sites or listing their products in marketplaces to retain their customers. However, it’s not enough to merely be online. Learning the new trends of consumer buying behavior is critical to conquering your market. It will provide better overall shopping experiences for your consumer and ultimately increase your company’s revenue.”

“If you want to reach your audience effectively, you should familiarize yourself with the way they shop.”

Check out the Connext infographic.

Consumer Purchase Process Today

Posted in Online Retailing, Part 3: Targeting Customers and Gathering Information, Part 7: Communicating with the Customer | Tagged , , | Leave a comment