Ordering in Airports – Given the unusual footprint and visitor activities in airports, dining has always seemed suboptimal in that environment. Restaurant layouts that make perfect sense in regular life are inconvenient and awkward in an airport. Many of us have walked into the regular pub like setting that has a total of perhaps 40 seats in an airport that serves thousands per day. It’s too busy, you are often lugging bags with you – which take up limited seating areas and cause you to constantly apologize to all around you for knocking everything with your bags.
Installations of iPads thoughout terminals to allow travelers to order food to be brought to them may ease that sense of awkwardness and make great use of airport seating areas if they are well laid out and sensibly arranged. I’ve heard through colleagues that fly through Laguardia where it has been piloted that it seems to work well there. I look forward to trying it in Toronto. Like all other retail technology, the operations behind the enabling solution will be what makes or breaks this! If there is good service level expectation setting and order fulfillment, this could do very well.
Tactile Touch Screens – Whenever friends ask me what mobile device they should use, my first question is whether they prefer a keyboard. Some people are predisposed to a physical keyboard and don’t want to move to using a touch version. Those people may only have to change a setting on a touchscreen device in the future. Tactus Technology is soon to offer touchscreens with physical buttons that swell up off the display depending on what ‘buttons’ are shown on the display. Check out the video for a real glimpse of the technology and what it could look like. This technology provides an opportunity to have the best of both worlds – a physical keyboard and maximum display real estate. It simplifies multi-language keyboard issues and can offer unique context sensitive keyboard options to UI designers. It also means a potential for a simpler to use self service environment where users attention can be drawn to act as context sensitive buttons rise out of the screen as they are needed.
Recipes on Receipts – Retailer St Marche recently partnered with Hellmann’s in Brazil to print recipes directly on receipts. Taking context sensitive offers to another level, this idea actually prints recipes that include items purchased from the grocery store in that transaction. It’s being tried out on 100 registers. Makes you wonder how much fun POS software would be if every CPG wanted that on every transaction. If it does work out, taking this to the next level with e-receipts seems like an intelligent play; allowing for sharing with friends electronically and ensuring that customers don’t lose any favourite receipt recipes as thermal paper fades over time and could be overheated in a kitchen environment and turn black!
The Extra Inch – Take the time to listen to Terry O’Reilly’s most recent Under the Influence podcast episode, it has some excellent examples of how retailers can win customers over with the little things. More than ever I find retailers are looking for ways to differentiate themselves and this podcast sheds some light on how some iconic companies are doing it today. I highly recommend adding Terry’s podcast to your regular playlist – it is always entertaining and you will always walk away with some new ideas. He has a great book as well that I heartily recommend.