Is it time for the checkout to check out?

7 jul 2021

Erik Wallin

Omnichannel commerce is the future. Customers used to write a list, then shop. Now they shop online, in-store or via click-and-collect. They buy food on their computers, phones and tablets. Customers add to their carts from recipe shopping solutions and publisher sites. They buy meal kits, use their own containers to shop for goods by weight and subscribe to everything from baking ingredients to plastic-free toilet roll delivery.

The future of grocery retail

How can a single retailer meet all these demands?

According to Northfork VP of Growth Mark Rogers, retailers need to deliver a first-class omnichannel experience to do so.

"Retailers have been racing to evolve the customer experience, with the pandemic accelerating changes to the way we shop," explains Rogers, "but there is much more to do. There's a need to innovate continually, particularly when it comes to omnichannel."

Time for the checkout to check out?

The traditional checkout is a good example of this. Dave Conroy, board member of the National Grocers Association, points out that, "the checkout experience is no longer tied to a single transaction point - it is woven through the entire customer interaction."

Retailers have embraced self-checkouts, sure, but is that innovation? The tech is decades-old and does little to alter the fundamental checkout experience. Amazon's Just Walk Out Technology is a step forward, but surely we can do more?

"We shouldn't be tweaking traditional shopping experiences," continues Northfork's Mark Rogers. "We need to rebuild the shopping experience from the ground up in an omnichannel world."

Everything to play for

According to an Inmar Intelligence survey, 28% of shoppers have no intention of returning to in-store shopping post-pandemic, while 27% plan to use a hybrid in-store/online approach. Retailers need to position themselves correctly to deliver an experience that suits these differing preferences. At this point in the race to do so, there's still everything to play for.