Sep 13, 2006

How banks can help merchants improve the "dreaded checkout experience"

RetailWire published an opinion piece by an executive of an international association of retailers. Here are a few excerpts:

"Grocers and other retailers are dedicating tremendous resources and brainpower to enhancing the overall shopping experience, but what happens at the checkout and beyond seems to be taken for granted in many operations. It just doesn't make sense. Operators need to do some creative problem solving.

What if a supermarket replaced the standard multi-lane checkout configuration with a single "Checkout Aisle" that fed shoppers to the next available checker? Airports and banks determined years ago that a similar approach would minimize frustrations and give customers the feeling that, even if the operation was crowded, at least everyone was being attended to fairly.

Busy times can even present an opportunity to get CLOSER to customers. Maybe the store manager could direct the front of the line to the next open checkout while thanking the shopper for their business. How about a nice sample from the bakery and a small cup of hot cocoa while you wait?

And then there's that lo-----ng walk across the parking lot. Maybe bringing the shopper's car to the front of the store (aka Concierge Parking) would make enough difference in the experience to warrant the costs, especially if you factor in a reduction in shopping carts strewn across the lot and traffic tie ups. "

Why is this of interest to payments professionals that read my blog? There are lots of ways to tie the payment transaction into the story. Many retailers reading the article will worry about the cost of providing these additional, VIP-like services. If they have to offer them to all customers the cost will have a significant impact on margins. But if retailers had a way of easily identifying VIP customers, the services could be offered exclusively to those people. Banks using XLS can simply use VIP Service Vouchers to accomplish this easily and at no additional cost to the bank or the retailer. This would tie the bank's services directly into the retailer's strategic objectives, help increase the perceived value of payment, and justify the cost of interchange fees paid by the merchant.

Check out the full article, titled "BrainTrust Query: How can we improve the dreaded checkout experience?"

Here are a few prior posts on VIP Service Vouchers:
A preferred checkout experience
A preferred checkout experience, part 2
Opportunities to enhance the payment experience in Thailand
Special invitation-only events

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