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Weekly Mobile Breakdown: Mobile Services For Better Customer Experience

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Tina Products/Markets Analyst
July 25, 2012

Two pieces of info were released this week. First, JCPenney announced an initiative to replace traditional checkout counters with mobile checkout devices, self-pay kiosks, and radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology to allow customers to check out anywhere and anytime in stores.  The company plans to roll out mobile checkout sometime this fall.  Revolutionary? Maybe. Will it be a success? We’ll see.

 

Second, eMarketer re-released data from software provider Smith Micro on mobile services at hotels. It turns out that a large chunk of U.S. business travelers would like to see hotels offer mobile check in and check out, in addition to other services. Considering this is an era when there is “an app for everything,” it’s a bit surprising to see that not all major hotels have offered these mobile services.  This is the chart released by eMarketer:

 

 

What do these two pieces of info have in common?  Both indicate that businesses are or should consider providing customers more mobility, that is, more mobile services and the ability to make transactions anywhere for a streamlined and improved customer experience through some sort of “mobile device,” whether that be a smartphone or a kiosk. JCPenney is taking a big leap with their new initiative, and, as with any new initiative, there will likely be some logistical and technical complications to smooth out.  Regarding mobile services in the hospitality industry, consumers want to see more mobile services offered, and this certainly applies to many other industries as well. If providing customers the ability to check in and out of a hotel room improves the customer experience enough to move the needle, then expect to see mobile payments become a larger part of not only the hospitality industry in the future, but possibly dining and entertainment as well.

 

WHAT’S HAPPENING:

  • JCPenney to replace traditional checkout with mobile checkout in an effort to streamline the customer experience
  • Mobile check in and out is the top service U.S. business travelers would use if made available
  • U.S. business travelers would also utilize special offers and discounts, guest services, and business services if offered on mobile

TAKEAWAYS:

  • There is still room for growth in using mobile technologies to improve the customer experience
  • If JCPenney’s initiative proves to be a success, more retailers will roll out mobile checkout in the future
  • As mobile check in/out becomes more common in hotels in the future, expect more restaurants to integrate mobile payments into the dining experience
  • If consumers want to see mobile check in/out made available, then there are most likely heaps of other services across many industries consumers would like to be made available via mobile

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