What innovative ways have you seen technology employed in stores or online? We’ve noticed a few notable ones this month, where companies have harnessed digital devices to make their processes simpler and more accessible to consumers. One such example is Argos, who are trialling tablets in one of its UK stores in place of the infamous Argos catalogue, which has been a central part of the home store for 40 years.
Chief executive of home retail Terry Duddy explained that the brand aims to offer “digital concept” stores where customers can use tablets to browse for stock with the hope of combating online competition.
Duddy continued: “The Argos transformation is well underway, including the introduction of new smartphone and tablet apps, the extension of the ‘hub & spoke’ trial, the launch of a digital Christmas gift guide and the development of digital concept stores.
“As we look ahead to the second half of the year, we expect consumer spending will remain subdued, and whilst some macroeconomic indicators are improving, these have not yet led to an increase in household disposable income. Overall we are making good progress and are in excellent operational shape as we approach the key Christmas trading period.”
Home delivery will also be removed as a service, along with the paper catalogue, reaffirming the hope that consumers will continue to shop in store rather than solely online.
Another tech development – this time in the banking world – comes from Barclays, who have revealed they plan to offer customers a ‘cheque imaging’ service to enable them to scan and cash cheques from home using a mobile phone. This system is already in place in France, Asia and the US with JP Morgan Chase, Citibank and Bank of America, where customers use a smartphone app to pay in their cheques. To use the imaging service, customers scan the front and back of their cheque and the details are sent electronically to the relevant branch and verified using a computer system. Barclays confirmed its intention to add the service in response to its YourBanking project which allows customers to offer suggestions on how the bank can make its services easier. An additional bonus of cheque imaging is a reduced waiting time for clearing the deposit, cutting the waiting period from two days to 24 hours.
We’re always looking for clever ways for companies to improve their productivity and customer service – and so should you! How can technology help your business run more efficiently?