I am one of the many people who dread the thought of going to Big Bazaar for shopping but do so due to other social compulsions.
The reason I dread going there for shopping is the time it takes to check out once you have completed your shopping. There have been instances when it has taken me more than 60 minutes to check out. There have been times when I’ve dropped the articles I had selected after seing the que at the check-out counter and left for home as I thought it is not worth standing in a que for an hour or even more for the articles that I have picked up.
I also know that this is not just true in my case but also in a number of my friends case as well.
Now, is Big Bazaar (or for that matter any other large format retail store) not aware of this problem? That can’t be the case as they are smart and would know that this is a problem.
So, what is stopping them from solving this problem? Inertia? Maybe they do not realize the magnitude of the problem.
I wanted to think about this from their perspective and to try and find a solution that not only fixes this problem, but does so in a manner to increase the total sale per customer as well.
I could come up with the following ideas:
- Implement the teller system used by banks. All customers who have less than 6 articles can get on the que and get their wares billed and leave. All others will get a token for their carts. These customers are then free to roam about in the store or wait at a lounge (where coffee or tea can be served). Just like the teller at a bank announces the token number and the customer can then go and get attended, the check-out counter announces the cart number and the customer can then join the counter, get his wares billed, make their payments and leave. No long ques and killing time (the most precious commodity of all).
- Implement the ATM concept: Introduce billing machines that the customers can use themselves to bill their wares, pay and check-out. These machines have been available for some time now. Though this involves a lot of investment, it also improves customer satisfaction. Also, the next generation of consumers are a generation which will grow up in a DIY (do-it-yourself) world and would rather prefer this than waiting in a que to be served.
- Order online, collect at the store: This model is already working at many stores. For example, “Groupe Casino“, a french departmental store has already deployed this model with great success. Their customers can place their orders online, make the payment and collect their goods in 2 hours from the store on their way back.
- Flip the billed to the biller: With the proliferation of smart phones and appification of our lives, they can think of developing an app which could recognize the bar-codes and can be used to scan all the items, generate a bill, collect payment from the stored credit card and generate a bar-code which can be verified at the gate to ensure there is no theft.
These are just 3 ideas that I could come up which would not only make it easier for the customers and improve customer satisfaction, but will also increase impulse purchase and last-minute drop-outs at the counter when the consumers have time to think and rationalize their purchases and some of the impulse purchases get dropped just before billing. This will increase the average bill size of the customers.
If given a good thought, we can come up with many more such creative solutions for many such problems.
Makes life easier for people like me!
Question is “Do they want to make our lifes easier?”
How has your experience been with the different departmental stores? Have you come across any interesting solution to solve the problem of the wait time at the check-out? If yes, please share the same with us..