Natalie Theo, Dressipi’s Style Director tries out Zara’s new self-service check out technology for herself.
Zara’s Self-Service Check Out Highlights a Stronger Focus on Creating Better In-Store Customer Experiences.
Any solution retailers can provide to map the convenience of shopping online to the in-store experience is a solution that’s heading in the right direction.
One way is solving the problem of how to avoid those long and tiresome queues to pay for your items. I can’t count the number of times when the length of a lunchtime queue was the deciding factor of whether to purchase or not.
Cue Zara and the self-service checkout. Using a self-checkout is something that’s become second nature for me when shopping at supermarkets or Boots – despite the usual technical glitches involved with unidentified items in the basket or barcodes on scrunched up stickers that are impossible to scan. To be able to have that ‘beat the queue’ option at Zara was something that appealed to me and I felt marked a move towards using technology to create more seamless in-store experiences for the customer.
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Zara is trialling out this service at one of its Oxford Street stores. On the downside, if I hadn’t read about it on Twitter, I wouldn’t have known it existed. The self-service kiosks are located upstairs on the first floor tucked away, albeit in a very sleek and almost zen-like section. It’s also not immediately obvious what they are.
On the upside, from a convenience point of view, this service is perfect as it resulted in cutting down on my shopping time. In addition, no-one else was using the kiosks, although I was there at one of the quieter times in the morning.
Overall it was as easy if not easier than shopping online with the added bonus that:
- I could try before I buy
- I had my must-have buys in my hand immediately post-purchase.
The touchscreen interface worked seamlessly and guided me smoothly through the quick transaction process from start to finish.
I got excited at Step 1 and the thought of not having to scan my garment – a leopard print scarf – as all I had to do was hold it close to the kiosk and it detected the barcode. As if by magic the price and scarf immediately appeared on the screen. However, with the second garment, I did have a supermarket self-service check out moment with the jacket I wanted to buy. The kiosk did not “automatically recognise” the item as promised so I was prompted to scan the barcode, which I had to do a few times.
Still, a small price to pay for an otherwise smooth and quick experience. Payment was effortless as was removing the security tag. A few minutes later I was wearing my scarf and had popped my jacket into a bag hanging on the side of the kiosks.
‘Self-service for the selfie generation’ should become a retailer catchphrase. This is not only a convenient step in the right direction but also quite a fun one and undoubtedly a good addition to the bricks and mortar customer experience. The ideal next solution for Zara (and retailers in general) would now be to tackle one of the worst in-store experiences in the same way – the arduous task of returning a purchase. This could be solved by providing one-to-one personalisation to all customers both in-store and online to help them make the right purchase decisions based on their personal preferences and intent.
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