Often consumers want instant gratification, which is why my previous post discussed the importance of fast shipping for online retailers. Getting to affordable same-day or next-day delivery will be an important milestone for the retail industry, and we're already making progress in that direction with "shipping clubs" and local delivery services. But what if there was a way to skip the delivery process altogether, much like what we've done with digital content. I don't order music CDs or DVDs from websites anymore; I simpl
Amazon has been at the forefront of innovation in e-commerce, and that's because they are constantly looking for new ways, not to sell, but to satisfy customers. That's a key point. Instead of advertising products, they provide information and advice to customers either directly or via other customers. This helps people make better decisions about their purchases. Looking back, we can see Amazon has been a leader in many areas:
I messed up. My son wanted Borderlands 2 for his XBox so I ordered it from Amazon, but its taking 8 days to arrive. That's a long time for a kid. I'm saving him $15 by using the Free Super Saving Shipping, but he really wants it now. (I've since discovered that Amazon Prime can be shared with family members, so my brother added me to his account and now I get free 2-day shipping!) I think he's typical of many shoppers, which is why there's renewed focus on next day shipping.
When we talk about computer innovation, we often talk about how powerful computers have become. But another aspect of computing is the advancements in the man-machine-interface, or the usability of computers. We've gone from punch-cards to GUIs to tablets with each step of the progression getting us closer to the goal, which is transparency. Using computers should be so natural that we don't expend any additional effort to use them.
Apple has had a profound impact on the retail industry with its amazing stores, mobile POS, and devices that allow people to shop on-the-go. So it makes sense to monitor the boys in Cupertino so we don't get blindsided. This week two big rumors were revealed that might give us some hints of what's to come. First, Bloomberg is reporting Apple has a team working on a smart-watch, a wearable device that has some of the iPhone's features. I find it hard to believe they can pack
This isn't a Kafka knock-off story about a retail associate turning into a giant bug, although the conclusion could be just as hideous. I have always thought that the airline industry illuminates the way for retailers in some aspects. I saw kiosks and QRCodes used at airlines before I saw them in stores, for example. And airlines invented loyalty programs. I appreciate the customer service and perks I get from my airline, and I wish I would be treated similarly by my retailers.
In the rare cases where I'm using cash for a purchase, I'll often toss my change into the charity jar. But for the majority of my purchases, which are via credit or debit, there's no option to "round up for charity." As far as I know, only Toshiba (formerly IBM) ACE builds that capability into their POS. There's a huge opportunity to allow customers to make donations at the POS, but few retailers wants to invest in customizing their POS to handle this. Integration efforts like this are often costly, and must be re-done when the payment processor is changed.
Probably the most common question I get asked is, "which emerging payment system is best?" Its a good question, and unfortunately, my crystal ball is a bit cloudy. Remember, it took credit cards a while before they got traction. Some of the same things I hear today ("we don't need a new payment scheme," and "it compromises my privacy") I'm hearing in reference to emerging payments. And just as those complaints eventually quieted, the same thing will happen and people will adopt new ways of paying. One thing I can say confidently is that the payment landscape will change over the next 3