2009.37 | More Solutions: Less Waiting

Nobody wants to wait in line – NCR’s buzzback survey for 2009 as well as those over the past few years provide numbers for the proof you don’t need as a consumer.

The recent article in the Wall Street Journal on waiting in line and the linked Numbers Guy blog post provide some interesting insight on single versus multiple line queueing and the impact of using one versus the other in a retail environment. In an attempt to address some of the shortcomings of single queues, JC Penney is testing a queueing solution provided by Lawrence to smooth front end throughput.

 Tabletop_Media

Table Top Media is attempting to implement table based self checkout at casual dining destinations like Chili’s and Applebee’s. Their system avoids the awkward wait between finishing your meal and attempting to get the bill by allowing access to the bill and payment directy at the table via a kiosk. It’s a great idea, but as a colleauge indicated, one has to wonder how one can tell who’s paying and who’s going to run out on the bill. Ideally there is security built in to the system to notify the servers and host staff whether a table has tendered or not.

Long a user of single queues, Best Buy has also started up BestBuy IdeaX. Much like MyStarbucksIdea discussed earlier on this blog, this solution allows consumer facing organizations an opportunity to obtain ‘free’ consulting – good or bad – as well as keep their finger on the pulse of what customers are feeling. The voting section reveals some interesting ideas NCR could assist with – electronic receiptscustomer service kiosks and more.

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2009.06 | Linkedin | Consistency | Think Different

Linkedin is Useful – Social networking isn’t just about showing off how many friends you have..well,actually yes it is, but Linkedin also has a very useful Companies feature that shows most popular contacts, new hires and career paths for each organization. Beyond a way of seeing where your friends move, it’s a great tool to obtain up to date information about the best contacts for new ideas, and a way for vendors and buyers to avoid cold calls.

A Consistent Customer Experience – The importance of a consistent experience and brand across channels is becoming increasingly important in Canada. With point of service already well established, the internet and mobile channels continue to grow. For the first time a majority of Canadians bank online – 53% in Q4 2008 – 35% of them use the Internet as their primary channel, followed by ATMs at 28% and in person transactions at 24%.

While retail probably will not go that far, 53% demands attention from retailers, and habit and comfort with these channels is likely to drive consumers towards them for retail as well. As digital natives age, they will demand it. 84% of Canadians now use the internet, and broadband subscribers continue to grow with 27.9 broadband subscribers per 100 inhabitants; making Canada the leader in the G7.

More surprising is the opportunity around mobile. Only 61.6% of Canadians have a mobile phone – the lowest of any developed country. This represents a market of 20 million people that is only going to grow and become increasingly sophisticated as smart phones permeate the market. NCR is well placed to help our clients serve these customers across all channels with solutions like SelfServ Checkout, Advanced Marketing, and Mobile Refactoring and can provide some insight into the benefits of this multi-channel consistency.

Think Different – New ideas in today’s economy is what is needed to weather the storm. Simple changes always seem obvious after the fact, but are more difficult to pinpoint than you think. A few standouts include: rethinking the cereal box, shelf moving robots, mobile reviews, RFID ad activation, subscribing to consumable products and the $300 million button. Simple.

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