A funny thing has happened as retailers have redesigned stores to better meet the needs of today’s ever-demanding cross-channel shopper. More and more often, the cash register is … missing!
Retail stores have always been a bit different, but always a bit similar too. You could almost count on promotional items up front by the windows and doors, and the cash wrap – the cash register or POS system – at the back, thus requiring shoppers to navigate the length of the store, and all the store’s merchandise, to check out.
That’s so yesterday.
Today’s new stores are something completely different, and the reinvention of stores is being led by high-end boutiques like Barneys New York and Rebecca Minkoff, as well as a few forward-thinking department stores. The end goal is to enhance the shopper experience, providing an environment that facilitates the shopper journey. But, don’t take my word for it, check out what Dexter Peart, co-founder of WANT Les Essentiels recently told Ray A. Smith of The Wall Street Journal about mobile POS:
“We’re downplaying that last transactional part of the experience. We want the human interaction as one of the last touch points. This time also gives our sales associates an opportunity to get to know the people shopping in our stores a lot better.”
~Dexter Peart, WANT Les Essentiels
And, don’t think for a second these new store designs aren’t influenced by online shopping. Shoppers have been taught over the last 15 years that they don’t need to do silly things like … stand in line!
Another case in point of online’s influence on the physical store of the future is B8ta, who calls itself “the first brick-and-mortar retailer architected to help you discover, experience and buy the latest tech and IoT products.” Just like online shopping sites, B8ta’s store is built around the power of shopper analytics, and its flexible design allows for quick and agile responses to shoppers’ values, preferences and behaviors.
B8ta pumps real-time customer experience information to the manufacturers of its merchandise assortment, who can then adjust price, change fixtures, etc., all with the goal of improving and optimizing the shopper experience. It’s amazingly cool stuff and akin to the e-Commerce merchants who can make make changes at will – change something in the morning, measure results, and know by noon if its working or not.
The underlying foundation of B8ta’s approach is, of course, one of technology and retail analytics – they’re embedded into the design and build out of the store, and empower the shopping experience ultimately delivered. Insights drive continual improvement, just like web sites have done for over a decade, and as some retailers have discovered with POS terminals.
Retail is never boring and the unprecedented disruption in the industry today has the excitement – and anxieties – at a new fever-pitch level. The long-awaited “store of the future” is being realized today, and the case of the missing cash register is just one of the dramatic new developments that are being introduced.
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