The Herman Trend Alert|
August 15, 2000
136 Days until January 1, 2001
Technological innovations in retailing are influencing how we shop.
Pricing Questions. Many stores now feature kiosks with scanners. If an item is not priced, the shopper can simply take it to the kiosk, scan the bar code, and discover how much the item costs. The future? Watch for scanners to be installed on shopping carts, saving shoppers the time and irritation of interrupting their shopping to find a kiosk.
Buying Patterns. While you may have some passing curiosity about your shopping habits, the stores you visit are much more interested. Frequent shopper cards are freely given to shoppers, who present them at the check-out stand to qualify for in-store discounts. The shopper benefits by saving a few dollars, but the merchant collects a wealth of information about what we buy. This information enables merchandisers to create more effective in-store promotions, but it also supports more focused marketing. is also possible.
Personalization. This is the next step of the store's marketing effort. With knowledge of your buying habits, the company can send you coupons-good in their store only-for the specific products you purchase on a regular basis. These coupons are designed to bring you back to the same store or to their website to build your relationship and enhance your loyalty to their brand. Already some chains send e-mails promoting specials on your favorite products.
In-store promotions can also get personal. Before long, a kiosk will greet shoppers as they enter the store, inviting them to insert their frequent shopper card to receive coupons to use that day. The machine will dispense good-today-only coupons for products the shopper purchases on a regular basis... and perhaps some related products that might interest that particular shopper.
Check out. Using automatic self-scanners, shoppers no longer have to wait for a check-out clerk. They can check out their own groceries-at their speed, under their control-and pay for them without ever even talking to an employee. Kids, already more technologically-inclined than their parents, love this opportunity. As they grow into more mature-and active-shoppers, watch for this service to be available at more stores of all types.
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