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!

Imagine a world where retailers could enable technologies that allow customers to gather the products they want and pay for everything with a single swipe of a mobile device. Forget queuing up; the transaction could happen anywhere in the store and the customer would then be free to exit – without ever standing in line.

And this future world isn’t too distant. Retailers believe that by 2017, 56% of all transactions will be completed via a mobile point of sale, self-checkout at a terminal or on a shopper’s mobile device. (Source: Motorola)

Some retailers have already begun their journey to eliminate checkout lines and improve the customer experience.

Intu, the UK’s leading specialist shopping center owner, developer and manager, invested into its network backbone and multichannel capabilities for enhanced mobility. Understanding that they are able to attract and build stronger, more personalized relationships with their mobility-inclined customers, Intu was able to grow its customer database by 25 percent after just four months of having Wi-Fi in its centers.

As mobility becomes more and important to the customer experience, the need for it to extend into the checkout line will become increasingly critical to the success of retailers. The retail store of the future is coming. Through the Internet of Everything, a long checkout line can truly be a thing of the past. As we celebrate our 30th anniversary, we continue to look forward to a future where everyday challenges like the Last Checkout Line, the Last Traffic Jam and so many others become a reality. Cisco and its partners are working together to make these amazing things happen with technology.

I, for one, would love to never have to wait in a long checkout line again when I am at the grocery store. How about you?


Blair Christie

Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer