Maundy Thursday is one of the strongest sales days of the year for food retailers. And so the German citizens will again storm the supermarkets at the end of next week to stock up for the Easter holidays. It is precisely on such days that the weaknesses of many supermarkets are mercilessly exposed. What costs customers the most nerves during their supermarket shopping was determined as part of the population-representative study "Retail Radar 2018". The start-up Responsive Acoustics (ReAct), which specializes in sound and communication concepts, surveyed more than 1,000 German citizens for this purpose.
The German citizens are most annoyed when too few checkouts are open. "Longer queues in front of the cash registers will of course never be completely avoided, especially before public holidays," says ReAct founder Wilbert Hirsch. "But even in such extreme situations, a lot of stress can be avoided by intelligent control, instead of practically giving the starting signal for the race for the finally opened additional cash register with a sudden loudspeaker announcement - disputes among the customers included."
On places two and three of the customer frustration ranking, "lack of cleanliness" and "missing goods" follow. More than every second German citizen is regularly annoyed by these two points. "Lack of cleanliness in particular is usually the result of no employee feeling responsible. And before someone has moved in with a bucket and cloth, customers have already spread the sticky cherry juice from a broken bottle over half the store," says retail expert Hirsch.
To get better and, above all, faster at this, more and more supermarkets are relying on effective instant messaging between employees and employee groups via end devices such as smartwatches, tablets and cell phones. If a customer drops a jam jar from the conveyor belt at the checkout, for example, the cashier simply presses the cleaning bucket symbol on her tablet and the next available employee receives a signal on his smartwatch and can quickly and calmly remedy the mishap without proclaiming the person who caused the mishap "klutz of the day" via loudspeaker.
"In the age of the Internet of Things (IoT), not only store management and employees can be integrated into such a communication system, but also technical devices such as refrigerated shelves and reverse vending machines," says Wilbert Hirsch of ReAct. Customers would certainly welcome this technological leap. After all, both overcrowded reverse vending machines and endlessly ringing alarms - from defective freezers, for example - regularly spoil their shopping fun, according to the "Retail Radar 2018."
At this year's EuroCIS industry trade fair, ReAct recently became the first provider to unveil a cloud-based Call to Action platform for retailers. In addition to IoT interfaces for the integration of retail peripherals such as empties machines or freezers into the communication loop, this will soon include automated task management via web calendar control and cross-store communication. Wilbert Hirsch: "It's time to ensure greater efficiency and service on the sales floor, so that shopping - not just before the Easter holidays - will be much less stressful for customers in the future."