AWS for Industries

Reimagine the In-store Customer Experience with Frictionless Shopping

Innovative retailers realize they need to create smart stores to enhance their customer experiences.  Recent advances in point-of-sale technologies are making it possible for retailers to reimagine the shopper in-store journey. With new retail technologies, long retail checkout lines and other in-store bottlenecks could soon be a thing of the past.

Frictionless Retail Customer Experiences

The idea of reducing friction in shopping experiences is not new, but the ways in which we solve for reducing friction are now so different. Amazon Go, the first completely checkout-free shop, is an example of the bridge between offline and online shopping can reduce friction. You enter the store with the Amazon Go app open on your phone, fill your shopping bags with whatever you want, and then leave the store. Amazon Go stores use cameras and sensors to know what’s been taken off the shelves, so items can be charged to your credit card, which is stored in the Amazon Go app. No cashiers, no long lines, no paper receipts. Amazon Go showcases the convergence of technology and traditional retail shopping in a convenience store format.

Exxon Mobil and Alexa Eliminate Friction at the Gas Pump

You can now use your car’s Alexa-enabled voice recognition functionality to pay for your gas. Available at the 11,500 Exxon and Mobil gas stations around the country, this service also works with the Alexa phone app and Alexa-enabled earbuds, headphones, watches, and auto entertainment systems. In just a few easy steps, you can fill up your gas tank without pulling out your credit card, an important safety measure to prevent credit card theft. When you’re at the gas pump and after you’ve selected your fuel grade, you simply say, “Alexa, pay for gas.” The automated system will ask you to confirm your location and pump number and start pumping gas into your car. When you’re done, you drive away.

Evolve to Frictionless Checkout

Many companies have a way to go on their path to technology maturity before they can achieve frictionless point of sale. Even though they might want to, some retailers can’t ditch existing payment systems and processes and go straight to transaction-free checkout. They need to take a more measured approach, to improve digital maturity so they can work their way to frictionless checkout.

Here are two examples of retailers who’ve deployed technologies to improve the customer experience as they evolve to frictionless checkout.

Morrison’s Is Future-proofing Its Contact Center

With nearly 500 grocery stores and an expansive online home-delivery service, Morrison’s is the second largest grocer in the UK. It services a massive customer base of 11 million people per week, in stores and online. In late 2019, the company decided to modernize its contact center so it could assist customers faster, with more flexibility, and more cost-effectively. Because the company regularly engages with customers by phone, social media, email, and through its website, Morrison’s implemented Amazon Connect, a cloud-based omnichannel contact center tool that automates customer interactions.

In less than eight weeks, the company deployed the solution, trained staff in just a few hours, and was able to scale the solution to handle six times the weekly volume of customer interactions during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, even as staff transitioned to work at home. Morrison’s also used Amazon Connect to create a takeout service for its cafés during the pandemic. Because of the agile nature of the solution and easy integration with third-party solutions like Salesforce, Morrison’s feels confident in its ability to quickly respond to changing market dynamics and deliver innovative services to elevate the customer experience and reduce friction.

Nike Retail Stores Uses Self-Service Checkout

The quintessential sneaker and athletic apparel brand has always been at the forefront of innovative customer experiences. Nike uses technology in its stores that recognizes its mobile app users when they walk into a store. If a customer wants to buy something in the store, the app automatically activates a self-checkout feature. A customer can also use the app to buy online and pick up from in-store lockers by just scanning a QR code that authenticates the customer.

Improve Digital Maturity to Progress to Frictionless Checkout

Self-checkouts have become fairly commonplace in retail, especially in grocery stores and big box retailers. As retailers implement new, advanced point-of-sale systems, they can keep pace with market changes, just as Morrison’s was able to do during the pandemic. Retailers can also use sophisticated payment-processing systems to help manage store inventory, reduce data silos, and deliver a more personalized experience to valued customers.

Retailers can use the same solutions used by Amazon to improve customer experience. With easy-to-integrate solutions like Amazon Personalize for recommendations, Amazon Pinpoint for SMS customer notifications or digital coupons, and Amazon Connect to manage customer interactions, retailers can evolve their systems to overcome immediate challenges in their customer engagement. As they progress to frictionless checkout, they are also improving their digital maturity.

The next-generation smart store retailer should be non-intrusive, connected, and intelligent. If you’re ready to start your path to frictionless transactions, contact your account team today.