People understand OOS, even on ad items, but this is 2022 and we haven't figured out how to let the customer make choices during selection rather than experiencing a gotcha on delivery. Doing substitutions after checkout is letting the customers check out, start towards the parking lot with their purchases and then stopping them at the door to remove some items and refund their money. Computers should update inventory immediately when the order is finalized rather than waiting to do it when it is picked for delivery to insure what a customer thinks they bought is what will arrive.
E-commerce is rapidly becoming all about phones rather than laptops if for no other reason than their omni-presence in our lives. People use these mini-computers we call phones less for talking than they do for all the other functions of life. Whether psychology has relevance is hard to say but the point is rapidly becoming moot as the trend continues. The lesson really is that regardless of what you are selling if your website doesn’t render properly on mobile you simply won’t be in the mix for many shoppers.
Watching costs in a challenging environment is smart but for me always brings to mind the old adage that you can't save yourself into profitability. If you have too many store people the real problem is you don't have enough customers.
There are solutions such as Rocketfuel that remove volatility risk from the transaction by immediately denominating the amount into dollars (or local currency) as it goes into the retailer account. Not much doubt this payment type is coming to store near you soon, despite some of the problems it has encountered recently.
In an ever more socially distant society, where many people actively avoid interacting with others, is it much of a stretch to see a Starbucks staffed with robot baristas? Robots never vote to join a union.
Can’t imagine this being a success. Nobody goes to Mickey D’s expecting a creative dining experience -- they go for consistently adequate food delivered quickly at a reasonable price. This enhances none of that.
Besides the obvious financial gain retailers get from a card, this is simply a proxy for programs such as Amazon Prime which are designed to make the issuing retailer the default for participating shoppers. Customer service comments are certainly relevant but just as Prime encourages people to start their product search at Amazon, this will encourage participants to start at Walgreens. And it doesn’t cost $120 a year.
I’ve been a Prime member since its inception, love Prime video and programming, get my TV through a couple of Fire Sticks and my household does a significant piece of purchasing from them every year. Each year when my Prime membership renews at what seem inevitably higher rates, I do the math and so far it has been worth it.
But I think Amazon is showing the strain of its size in some ways with missed delivery dates and especially customer service. It seems impossible lately to get someone on the phone who is capable of thinking beyond their scripted answers and recent interactions have resulted in having the wrong item authorized for return as well as promised credits which never materialize.
So I don’t really agree with the premise that Amazon has won; frankly, they seem as vulnerable as any retailer who takes their eye off the ball. They are a great company, doing lots of things right but if you dial time back about 30 years, you could have said many of the same things about Sears.
It seems pretty obvious that shared online shopping via Instacart cannot be a long term solution for Publix because it minimizes their customer service strength with a generic interface and offering. My guess is they know that already and are working to correct it.
As for a "loyalty" program I really wish we would stop calling shopper history programs that because as others have pointed out, they really aren't. Knowing what your customers buy can fuel powerful customer service initiatives (in-store and online) helping a retailer tailor offerings to individuals and making it far easier for customers to buy from them.
Many shoppers move between chains effortlessly based on their weekly shopping needs and chain specials. Understanding what an individual shopper is likely to be looking for in a particular week and communicating to them when your store has that item featured can be a powerful motivator for them to shop that store during the week.
And if you do that every week, consistently matching your specials to their needs, it won't necessarily create loyalty but almost certainly will encourage them to adopt a default position of making sure they review your offerings each week. And that is a start.
From my experience, which healthcare providers people use has more to do with who is in their insurance network than anything else. Most plans pay significantly less (or not at all) for out of network care, which effectively eliminates any reality of choice for many people.
Asking customers what they want is never a bad idea, but they are already telling you everything you need to know when they shop. Not just what they buy, but when and why they buy the products they do, what discounts they require and so forth. Truth is, an individual shopper has interest in only a small fraction of the 30,000+ skus a store carries or even the 300 or so items currently being featured on "deal" so the biggest problem shoppers have is cutting through the clutter to find items relevant for them during a particular week. Using the full range of shopper data, not just the "did they buy this previously" metric so common, to determine which items in the weekly ad feature should be highlighted to each individual, actually delights shoppers and drives both incremental visits and sales each week.