Kmart is trialling new technology to make click-and-collect more efficient for customers, doing away with human interaction altogether. The automated system, which utilises warehouse robotics and a self-service kiosk, is now being trialled in one store to see if it improves customer experience and productivity.
"The trial store is a test and learn for Kmart to create an even better experience for our customers," general manager for Kmart and Target Ben Smith announced on LinkedIn. The robotic click-and-collect technology is part of a raft of changes, which include a new store layout, he added.
"Our automated click-and-collect system is designed to create a simple, quick experience with a self-service kiosk — where customers get their products delivered automatically via warehouse robotics that work behind the scenes," Smith revealed to iTnews.
No human interaction required
Currently, Kmart customers who choose to buy their items online and then collect them from their nearest store must arrange pick-up from a service desk, where a member of staff will get their items for them. The new system, which is being trialled at the Eastland store in Melbourne, will do away with human interaction to "make shopping easier" according to the retailer.
Meanwhile, in-store shoppers can take advantage of a newly launched "select-and-collect" option, which is another kiosk inside the trial store for bulky items. These products are collected via a "direct-to-boot" service, so customers don't need to carry them around before checking out.
Kmart customers welcome trial
The trial store made waves last month when shoppers discovered its checkouts were being relocated from the centre to the exit, meaning customers are no longer required to pay for their goods in the middle of the store and then be subjected to receipt and bag checks when leaving.
Kmart began moving checkouts to the middle of stores in 2015 to streamline queues and remove congestion from exits, but the move hasn't gone over well with customers, who've branded it the "dumbest idea they've ever had".
"Love the new layout and that the registers are back at the front of the store," one shopper responded to the launch announcement of the trial store on LinkedIn, while a site improvement specialist commented, "Fantastic to see innovation winning out with an updated shopping offer for the customer. Hope to see it replicated soon."
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