Executive Briefings

Retailers Want the Best of the Web Inside Their Stores

Increasingly retailers are trying to give customers more control over the shopping experience. That often means bringing Web-style technology into the store. AMR Research estimates retailers will spend $766m this year, up 14 percent from 2006, on things like cash registers that locate inventory. Bloom supermarkets, which are owned by Food Lion, have poured money into a sophisticated system that allows shoppers to pick up a scanner and grocery bag at the front of the store, keep track of the bill as they shop, download the scanner at the self-service checkout, and pay. Voilà--the weekly food run with fewer hassles, in Internet time. Retailers know, of course, that gadgetry will take them only so far. So they're trying to replicate the best things about the Web but in a more personal way. That's why Best Buy is retraining its sales employees so they know more about their products than their Google-happy customers.
Source: Business Week, http://www.businessweek.com

Increasingly retailers are trying to give customers more control over the shopping experience. That often means bringing Web-style technology into the store. AMR Research estimates retailers will spend $766m this year, up 14 percent from 2006, on things like cash registers that locate inventory. Bloom supermarkets, which are owned by Food Lion, have poured money into a sophisticated system that allows shoppers to pick up a scanner and grocery bag at the front of the store, keep track of the bill as they shop, download the scanner at the self-service checkout, and pay. Voilà--the weekly food run with fewer hassles, in Internet time. Retailers know, of course, that gadgetry will take them only so far. So they're trying to replicate the best things about the Web but in a more personal way. That's why Best Buy is retraining its sales employees so they know more about their products than their Google-happy customers.
Source: Business Week, http://www.businessweek.com