2012.20 | Airports, Tactile Touch, Recipes etc.

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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.

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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.

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2009.38 | Hold the Receipt | Donuts & Furniture

tale_of_the_tapeHold the Receipt – A September 1 article in the Wall Street Journal highlighted the growing trend of very long receipts, given the addition of contract terms, transaction barcodes, product details, loyalty information, coupons and more.  While much of the information on the receipt is useful for retailers and consumers alike – enabling interactions and conversations via offers, ensuring transaction clarity, and simplifying returns, it also means an incredible amount of waste.  

The ultimate objective will be to eliminate receipts entirely, removing paper, labour, waste, cost and complexity from the equation completely, but it’s easier said than done for many reasons

What can be done today?  Electronic coupons are one way to trim the paper use that many retailers and businesses are experimenting with.  Two sided thermal receipt printing is another great measure to address the issue, reducing costs and waste substantially while maintaining the benefits that the information on the receipt provides.

Donuts & Furniture – Consider two very different organizations and two different approaches to multichannel communications:

Dunkin Donuts has implemented the Dunkin Run program utilizing a twist on a social networking to allow an individual to invite friends to place their orders online for one lucky runner to pick up for the group.    Status of the pickup can be displayed on Facebook.  What a great idea to drive up sales, the dollar value of each purchase, and increase consumer loyalty.   It should also be an easy migration to a mobile footprint given the type of solution and interface provided.

Ikea is making moves down the path to multichannel communications as well.  The IKEA FAMILY loyalty program in use in Europe leverages registration kiosks in store.  In the US, Ikea is leveraging a mobile application for store finding and specials.  Expect IKEA to move those channels together.

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