When we worked with Time Warner Cable to roll out their Experience Stores, a major objective was enhancing the time a customer spent in the store.
Our strategy was to keep customers engaged using digital touch points. The idea being that customers don’t want to spend their time in line waiting. The longer a customer waits in a retail store, the less they enjoy the experience.
Retail customers don’t have to line up to explore a store. They may have to wait for a dressing room. If they are making a purchase, they will probably have to wait to check out with a cashier. We use technology to keep customers busy (and happy) while they wait. Amazon’s new patent seeks to use technology to remove the wait altogether.
The idea is that customers would shop in a retail location, pick up items and leave without having to stop at a checkout. A store using this technology would be setup with a series of camera, sensors or RFID readers which would identify the items a shopper picks up. The system may rely on facial recognition to identify customers, with the camera taking a picture and noting the time they entered and exited the store. Upon leaving the store, the system would trigger an email to the shopper listing the items and their prices. The ultimate convenience, customers wouldn’t even have to stop at a kiosk to checkout.
With no official announcements made it is not clear whether Amazon plans to sell this service to retailers, or to just use it in their own stores.