Saturday, February 04, 2006

Home Depot Creates POS Efficiency

Retailers are also thinking about ways to make shoppers themselves more efficient -- for example, by providing self-checkout and in-store kiosks. AMR points out that Home Depot now has 1,200 stores equipped with self-checkout , plans for 15,000 kiosks, and is "increasing its investment in contact centers to help consumers with the research component of their buying." The bottom line is that shoppers can learn more about products, and even buy them, without involving store associates at every turn. These are all examples of what AMR characterizes as aggressive e-business spending, particularly at the store level.


At 11:53 PM, Anonymous Jess said...

Wow! I think contact centers are a great idea! It always seems hard to find a sales associate when you need one and this will help solve that problem. However, I hope that this creation does not take the place of associates. The way technology is running everything these days, it seems like employees' jobs are getting cut left and right. The last thing that our economy needs right now is more job cuts.
These contact centers will definitely make it easier on consumers, but it will also make it easier on the sales associates. They will probably alleviate some of the stresses employees encounter when their store gets real busy.
On the topic of self-checkouts, I am not a big fan yet. The self-checkout counters at Wal-mart have definitely improved since they were first introduced, but they still seem to be somewhat of a nuisance. Every time I use them, a sales associate has to come over and enter their I.D. to void some sort of annoying alert. It will take the contact centers a while to get the "kinks" out, but they seem to be a great idea!

At 12:17 PM, Anonymous Katie said...

While I think contact centers are a great technological addition to the stores, I personally think that with each new contact center or self-checkout, a bit of good old customer service is depleted. Public relations is about relationships: relationships between company and client and between store associates and customers. While some customers to Home Depot are going to love the contact centers and increased independence in their shopping experience, others are going to hate the reliance of technology to get information. What about those customers who are uncomfortable or unfamiliar with the computer? My grandfather doesn’t own a cell phone or VCR, much less a computer, yet he visits Home Depot or Lowe’s at least once a week for materials for his latest busy project. I think this is a good idea if Home Depot still plans on catering to those customers who don’t want to use, or don’t know how to use, these centers.


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