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Through the Internet of Everything, You May Never Have to Wait in a Long Checkout Line Again

We’ve all been there. A grocery store, a department store or even a coffee shop, standing in a long checkout line that hasn’t moved for what seems like an eternity. You ask yourself, ‘Is this purchase worth it?’ For one third of customers, the answer is no, if they have to wait more than five minutes. (Source: Brickstream)

But imagine if we could eliminate checkout lines? Well at Cisco – we have! In our latest conversation about the Internet of Everything, we’ve imagined more possibilities with our “Museum of Lasts” campaign – the last traffic jam, the last blackout, the last missed meeting – and yes, the last checkout line.

Increasingly, retailers understand the importance of having both a physical and digital presence – and how the power of the Internet of Everything will digitize those experiences. Thanks to technologies like predictive analytics that sense foot traffic and notify stores when more cashier lanes should open, as well as sensors on shelves that can identify inventory and automatically place orders when low, customers and retailers are becoming closer than ever before.

But will these technologies help retailers improve the customer experience? Will the Last Checkout Line ever become a reality? I believe the answer is yes. Last month, I shared results from a recent Cisco study that highlighted unique insights about shopping behaviors among U.S. and U.K. consumers. In this digital age, it’s absolutely critical for retailers to provide “hyper-relevant” experiences. Shoppers don’t want to be sent coupons for diapers if they don’t have children; retailers need to understand the reason and context behind each consumer’s shopping experience and react accordingly.

Some of the key findings from the study emphasized that shoppers do not want to wait in a long line. Seventy-seven percent said that they would use checkout optimization to receive estimated wait times, while 60% would scan product bar codes using their smartphone and then pay at a self-service kiosk. These are the types of digital experiences that shoppers are looking for – and will help eliminate the checkout line!

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Three Steps for IT to Deliver Better Business Results

The situation that many IT people find themselves in today is dripping with irony. They’ve deployed so many innovations over the years to address so many business challenges, that now most of their time is dedicated to simply keeping their systems running. Without incremental resources during these lean budget times, their new innovation cycles decline in direct proportion to their past innovations.

Given the current budget realities, how can IT break out of this innovation trap?

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