Preparing for a World without
A world without checkout registers will give new meaning to the phrase, “I’ll be in and out”. Convenience will have a whole new standard. Walk into a store, grab what you want from the shelf and literally walk right out. Certainly, this sounds like a busy Millennial’s dream come true. While this new technology will be great for consumers, how will it affect the retailer? Let’s take a look.
Path to Purchase
Many retailers and their marketing partners, WMG included, have invested significant resources into understanding the path consumers take to make a purchase. Now, how will that path be altered if there is no longer necessarily a checkout area?
With the absence of a checkout register and the accompanying line consumers have to wait in, retailers will lose an important place to sell goods, many of them being high margin impulse items. This raises the question of where to go to fill this opportunity hole. Where to put those goods if you wish to keep selling them? Will simply placing the items by the door so consumers can grab them on the way out be enough? Only time will tell. What we do know is, in this environment, it will be important to slow down the consumer when possible.
This doesn’t mean changing your store layout to a maze. Your store still has to be easy to shop. But retailers will need to be even more mindful of what messages and merchandise they place in a consumer’s path as they navigate the store. In order to slow down consumers, retailers should combine an experience with in-store marketing campaigns, events, and other creative in-store activities.
Preliminary research on the effect of smart phones on the human brain has let us know that consumers can multitask more effectively, but it also let us know that they focus less and for shorter periods. This means slowing down the consumer enough for your in-store marketing messages to be digested will be a major objective in the future without checkout registers.
Products & Goods
The convenience aspect of not having checkout register will affect the types of goods retailers carry as well. Consider the market for meal kits. The industry itself is struggling with logistics and delivery options, but meal kits themselves are still promising. Retail shops or grocers in residential areas without checkout lines may be the convenience boost meal kits need to really take off.
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Smarter consumers that make healthier buying decisions, speeding through a cash register-less checkout will also impact the snack food industry. While the temptation of waiting in line and staring down an entire display case of well-merchandised candy will be gone, knowing you can quickly run to the store and grab a candy bar with less time and effort may offset the checkout line loss, but only if these items are placed in the consumers path to purchase.
In-Store Marketing & Merchandising
In-store marketing will change drastically as retail stores change their layouts & products to adapt to the future without checkout registers. If the majority of your consumers stop in to quickly grab one item when they used to walk around and browse, the priority of your sales and branding messages will change. Store mapping will become critical. Merchandising will take on more of a Consumer Relationship look, placing goods in the path most likely traveled by the most people, absent checkout lines.
We predict a slight increase in the amount of merchandising that includes messages based on how this path comes to life, building loyalty, and offering consumers a deal they can cash in on their next visit. Building loyalty will be a challenge in a world without checkout registers. Consumers will need to remember themselves to join or use loyalty programs. Larger retailers that have not already reduced their footprint as a response to new Omni-channel realities will need creative solutions to encourage consumers to see the entire store. This is when educating consumers with in-store marketing programs will be even more critical.
About the Author
Justin Lincoln – Digital Marketing Manager
Justin translates organizational objectives and business needs into marketing campaigns, social media strategies, and communication plans. When he’s not gathering insights from piles of analytical data, Justin is training soldiers on SATCOM equipment or reviewing commercials on Twitter. Connect with him on Linkedin!