advertisement
advertisement

How A Drive-Thru Could Turn Showrooming Into Roadkill

Written by Todd L. Michaud
February 15th, 2012

Todd Michaud spent years leading retail technology teams for Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins and today serves as the VP of IT for a billion-dollar franchise restaurant company. He also runs Power Thinking Media, which helps restaurants and retailers with social and mobile challenges.

The whole concept of showrooming bothers me. I keep thinking about how retailers need to turn their retail locations into a strategic asset, rather than a burden. There is no reason retail organizations cannot duplicate (or even improve upon) the online purchase experience of their E-tailer counterparts. If traditional retailers really want to win the war against their online counterparts, I think they need to shift the battlefield from price to convenience. And nothing says “convenience” like “drive-thru,” am I right?

Leveraging brick-and-mortar stores to deliver items ordered online fast and conveniently is the biggest advantage traditional retailers have over their online competition. And yet legacy software decisions and siloed business structures are preventing most retailers from leveraging these assets. Drive-thru retailing is not new. Sure there are examples of where grocery store chains have tried this and failed. But buying fruits and vegetables picked out by someone else is a tough gap to cover. And yes, Sears tried this approach a few years ago with a drive-thru-only location that wasn’t the breakthrough the chain had hoped.

But hear me out. It wasn’t until just recently that I felt this concept was really ready for prime time. There is a convergence of technologies that will drive the success of the next ventures in retail drive-thru: merged-channel retailing (any product via any channel), smartphone adoption by customers and the growth of mobile transactions, the ease of online transaction processing (one-click ordering), and the application of software tools for pick/pack (from the warehouse) and task management.

The fact is, I buy a lot of things from Amazon. I have three young kids, and it’s a hassle to drag them through my favorite places to shop without at least one having some sort of meltdown. On the other hand, Amazon makes it frictionless to buy something. The only problem is that I have to wait two days to get it, which really sucks.

After picking up the kids from school one day when my wife was out of town, I tried to come up with a plan for dinner. Although I am not exactly a whiz in the kitchen, I also dreaded the idea of managing all three kids in a restaurant on my own (one man does not a zone defense make). I decided to use my phone to order pizzas from California Pizza Kitchen and get them delivered to curbside, so I wouldn’t have to unbuckle the little angels when we picked up our food.

It struck me there are plenty of other retail opportunities just like this one. How, if I could order products online or via mobile and pick them up in “real-time,” then it would dramatically increase the likelihood of my shopping there simply because of the “kid barrier” that it removes.


advertisement

2 Comments | Read How A Drive-Thru Could Turn Showrooming Into Roadkill

  1. ed Says:

    Probably the most effective way to stop showrooming is for the retailer to build their own app for customers to use.

  2. Shirley Says:

    Not only would it help those of us with little ones – and one of us (the kids or adults) having a meltdown ;) … it could also help those with disabilities from having to get out of the vehicle as well.

Leave a Reply

Readers, specifically those who want to comment on a story:
Our Comment SPAM system is getting very aggressive these days and has been blocking legitimate comments. If you post a comment and don't see it appear within 2 hours or so, can you please send a heads-up to customer-service@storefrontbacktalk.com? Ideally, please include the time you posted the comment. That will allow us to try and hunt for it. Thanks! P.S. We're working on fixing the system, but we don't want to lose any valuable comments in the meantime.

Newsletters

StorefrontBacktalk delivers the latest retail technology news & analysis. Join more than 17,000 retail IT leaders who subscribe to our free weekly email. Sign up today!
advertisement

Most Recent Comments

Why Did Gonzales Hackers Like European Cards So Much Better?

I am still unclear about the core point here-- why higher value of European cards. Supply and demand, yes, makes sense. But the fact that the cards were chip and pin (EMV) should make them less valuable because that demonstrably reduces the ability to use them fraudulently. Did the author mean that the chip and pin cards could be used in a country where EMV is not implemented--the US--and this mis-match make it easier to us them since the issuing banks may not have as robust anti-fraud controls as non-EMV banks because they assumed EMV would do the fraud prevention for them Read more...
Two possible reasons that I can think of and have seen in the past - 1) Cards issued by European banks when used online cross border don't usually support AVS checks. So, when a European card is used with a billing address that's in the US, an ecom merchant wouldn't necessarily know that the shipping zip code doesn't match the billing code. 2) Also, in offline chip countries the card determines whether or not a transaction is approved, not the issuer. In my experience, European issuers haven't developed the same checks on authorization requests as US issuers. So, these cards might be more valuable because they are more likely to get approved. Read more...
A smart card slot in terminals doesn't mean there is a reader or that the reader is activated. Then, activated reader or not, the U.S. processors don't have apps certified or ready to load into those terminals to accept and process smart card transactions just yet. Don't get your card(t) before the terminal (horse). Read more...
The marketplace does speak. More fraud capacity translates to higher value for the stolen data. Because nearly 100% of all US transactions are authorized online in real time, we have less fraud regardless of whether the card is Magstripe only or chip and PIn. Hence, $10 prices for US cards vs $25 for the European counterparts. Read more...
@David True. The European cards have both an EMV chip AND a mag stripe. Europeans may generally use the chip for their transactions, but the insecure stripe remains vulnerable to skimming, whether it be from a false front on an ATM or a dishonest waiter with a handheld skimmer. If their stripe is skimmed, the track data can still be cloned and used fraudulently in the United States. If European banks only detect fraud from 9-5 GMT, that might explain why American criminals prefer them over American bank issued cards, who have fraud detection in place 24x7. Read more...

StorefrontBacktalk
Our apologies. Due to legal and security copyright issues, we can't facilitate the printing of Premium Content. If you absolutely need a hard copy, please contact customer service.