I’ve written about advances in payment technologies in previous blog posts. Clearly I’m all for them and the Barclaycard Tap initiative for example seems really interesting although I’m not sure their search marketing strategy is up to scratch. You try searching and see how much clear information you can find about the system! Yet it seems that many retailers still have a way to go on the basics of customer service. I do a lot of shopping in good old M&S. Food, clothes, homeware etc. So much so that I have one of their credit cards, and a £15 per month Premium card at that. I’ve written about them being behind on the technology front before. So how is it that when I buy something they can’t access my purchase history in store? Quite recently I bought an expensive leather bag as a present. It wasn’t quite right and I went back to the store to get a refund. In the month that had gone by, sod’s law meant that the bag had been reduced to £25 from the original £99. Given that I had lost the original receipt – yes, I know, I should be more organised – I couldn’t prove I’d paid the full price. Now I know M&S must have the technology to show what its best customers – its Premium card holders – have spent. It seems a bit shoddy that they are unwilling to allow staff in-store to access this for the benefit of the customer. In the meantime until they have got their act together it will teach me not to lose my receipts. Harvey Nicks on the other hand have no such issue. A couple of weeks ago I bought an item of clothing. A few weeks later I decided I wanted to buy the same item in a different colour. When I got to the store I couldn’t remember what size I had bought. Now I hate the hassle of trying things on – so much so that it can even turn me off a purchase – but in this case staff were able to instantly access my purchase history and remind me what size I had bought. Result, one very happy customer and money in Harvey Nick’s tills.
Top marks to the landlords at The Thirsty Bear on London’s Stamford St.
Not only do they run a fine boozer – friendly staff and good beer, what more could you ask?– but they’re also switched on enough to let the punters pull their own pints with a corking (groan!) piece of retail technology. Pick up your electronic tab card from the lovely peeps behind the bar, swipe it on one of the 20 tables that house these taps, and it releases the beer. Swipe it again to tot up what you’ve had, and settle up back at the bar. Add the fact that you can use iPads to order food and drinks other than the tap beer, book slots at the pool table and operate the jukebox, and you have the makings of a truly genius retail/leisure concept.
Provides a whole new arena for self-service payment technologies, and perhaps even cuts queues – and is definitely my sort of digital ubiquity.