Retailers embrace new shopping technology

Wednesday, 18 December 2013
Retailers including John Lewis and Marks & Spencer are embracing new technology including mobile point-of-sale tablets, Google mapping and enhanced self-service terminals in a bid to make shopping even more convenient  for its customers.

Department store John Lewis is trialling mobile point-of-sale over the Christmas period in three stores, Cheadle, Brent Cross and Peter Jones, as it embraces its use of shopping technology. Each store will use transactional tablets that allow customers to skip the queues at till banks and make their purchases directly with the member of staff on the shop floor who advised them.

Each tablet will be fully linked to the shop’s till systems, allowing customers to fully complete their purchase in the shop or arrange home delivery, in a development that the retailer states is a UK first. In addition to offering payment assistance the tablets will also give shoppers and the assistants access to a range of product information including customer ratings and reviews on johnlewis.com. Initially, the tablets will be trialled in a number of departments including technology and white goods.

John Lewis trials the latest shopping technology

In another step to make shopping easier, the retailer has also mapped its flagship store on Oxford Street using Google Street View. The new service marks another retail first and utilises more than 500 panoramas, which allows customers to navigate the store and walk virtually through the aisles. The aim is to help shoppers navigate their way around the seven-floor department store and plan their shopping trips.

If the trial is successful John Lewis will look into rolling it out to other branches in the next two years.

Simon Russell, director, retail operations development at John Lewis, said: “We intend to keep investing and innovating in our shops so that they remain compelling and hassle-free places for customers, offering multiple reasons to visit them.

“Partly this will see us use an increasing amount of technology to make shopping easier and offer more "in shop help". But this is also about offering inspiring experiences, such as our recent catering partnership with Scandinavian café brand, Joe & the Juice.”

Marks & Spencer rolls out polytouch terminals equipped with Chip and PIN

While Marks & Spencer is rolling out 700 new polytouch self-service kiosks in its high street stores, which allow customers to browse for products held either in-store or online as well as pay for goods instantly using Chip and PIN.

The polytouch screens designed by retail and banking solutions company, Wincor Nixdorf, in collaboration with Pyramid Computer, aims to deliver true multichannel retailing, while making it a more convenient shopping experience by reducing queue times and further improving customer service.

Kyle McGinn, head of M&S new channels and digital labs, said: “Our goal is to be the best of M&S in every store and these kiosks do that in a convenient and practical way, whilst also providing inspiration and choice. We’re encouraged with the customer feedback we’ve received so far and the performance we are getting from these devices.”

As well as making the in-store shopping experience more convenient, the Polytouch is a multi-channel solution that is designed to increase sales and interaction with the Marks & Spencer website through offering an innovative and interactive customer experience.

Martin Smethurst, head of retail at Wincor Nixdorf, explains: “The terminals allow the brand to offer an extended range of items, online as well as in-store, and more detailed product information at the point of sale. We hope all this will help M&S deliver the best retailing experience to its customers.”

Image: John Lewis via Google Maps

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