We are in 2016. Everything is getting digital. Everything? Not everything. The shopping cart at brick’n’mortar retailer remains disconnected. But why? There could be many benefits from connected shopping carts.
While e-commerce is tracking customer interaction with every single element in their store for years now, the “old-fashioned” brick’n’mortar world stays disconnected. Their only contact point is the PoS. But there could be so much more options from connected shopping carts:
Track your customers in store – instead of all that discussions about beacons, which enable tracking of customer movement inside the store, a simple chip attached to each shopping cart enables tracking of the movement in the store. Costs for such a solution could be significant lower. Obviously information is not personalized. But a coverage of nearly 100% of all shoppers could be achieved at FMCGs. And any discussions about data security would stay out.
Respond to stations – as soon as the movement of a connected shopping cart is recorded, why not responding to specific stations? Tickets at the POS include rewards for customers, who have been around or stopped in a specific region of the store. This can be nice!
Interact with the customer – adding a display or some audio to the cart would even allow a back channel. Scan your products, give advice where to go, optimize the shopping tour, special offers, and much more can be implemented into the cart. Isn’t this marvelous!
Interface with customer devices – even pairing of mobile devices with shopping carts via bluetooth or NFC could be implemented easily – a quick and easy way to add personalization to the store. Apps could allow customers to create shopping list at home or browse for recipes while getting advice for ingredients, routes to the shelves, or special offers in store. I would love it!
Would you agree that connected shopping carts could be a great thing? I really wonder why they did not make it to the market up to know.
The innovation company IDEO has produced a video about their design thinking approach a while ago, which resulted in a new shopping cart. Even though this video turned into a reference about great things happening when applying design thinking, their shopping cart never made it into the store.
[Update: 10th Jan 2016 09:42 CET]
From a discussion at LinkedIn I recognized, that there are doubts about acceptance of clients to be in interaction with phones or other devices in store while shopping. Therefor here are some studies, which show the relevance and acceptance:
Google claims that 84% of shoppers are making use of their Smartphone in store: How Mobile Is Transforming the Shopping Experience in Stores (2013)
A shopper experience study by Cognizant states that 54% of shoppers would welcome local alerts on offers: 2015 Shopper Experience Study