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4 Reasons JC Penney Was On To Something With The Counter-Free Experience

Posted by Christine on Feb 10, 2015
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In 2012, TIME Magazine wrote about JC Penney’s plans to dramatically change the checkout experience at stores, including getting rid of cashiers, cash registers and checkout counters by 2014. People balked, and as we know, the company overall has suffered in the last few years, even as it tried to innovate.

I personally was in a JC Penney over the holidays in 2014, and the counters were still there. So did they abandon the idea, or will we see their innovative thinking come to light in 2015? That remains to be seen.

For all its faults, JC Penney was on to something with this dramatic thinking. Perhaps for once, they were ahead of their time, or perhaps they were just trying to innovate too many things at once, confusing their customer base. Regardless, there are a few reasons getting rid of the cash registers and checkout counters is a good idea. We help retail customers to migrate this direction all of the time, and we’re avid fans of the idea. Here are four reasons why.

  1. Remove Counters, Remove Barriers – counters are so 1999. This is 2015, where consumers are more interested in being serviced as the individuals they are, rather than a mass mob. Removing counters and adding mobile checkout via iPads allows sales associates, who would normally be checking customers out on the register, to stay out on the sales floor and interact with customers in a much more personable way. No more stress about being stuck behind the counter and not caring for the customers on the floor. Mobile checkout is more convenient and personable for everyone.
  2. Make It Easy To Give Customers What They Want – our new mobile point-of-sale technology allows customers to purchase inventory through an iPad app. Remember those “special order” days of filling out forms and calling around to multiple other stores to find out if they had something the customer wanted but wasn’t in your inventory? They can easily find what they want now, instantly.
  3. Maximize Space – getting rid of counters leaves more room for inventory and merchandising. Re-imagine your space!
  4. Don’t Choose Between Online and Off – Unite Them – as our CEO has said, we’re in a new model of retailing, which is Web-based, mobile, and unites digital and physical channels, bringing all of that data into one location.

You might think the non-counter idea sounds radical when you think of a clothing store, for example. But if you’ve ever shopped in an Apple store, you’ve already experienced what it’s like to go counter-free. It’s human nature to talk to people without a barrier. Retail is finally getting up close and personal – and that means more sales, more success, and new frontier. We’re excited to be at the forefront of it all, and happy to help you take the leap. Go ahead – tear down those counters. You – and your customers – will be glad you did!

Topics: Customer Service, Customer Relationship Management

Online Retail Today