retail concepts that would serve to create higher levels of customer loyalty for the retain chains offering them. Each of these concepts also seeks to enhance the retail experience by offering greater value than their traditional store counterparts.
Grocery Stores with RFID Enabled Shopping Carts
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a technology that is being pervasively adopted by retailers due to its many benefits, including significant reduction in supply chain costs (Boeck, Wamba, 2008). Having a grocery store stocked only with products that have RFID tags on them would make it possible for shoppers to plug a memory stick or PEM drive loaded with grocery lists at home on their PCs, into the shopping cart and have their shopping list pop up with pricing, availability and location of each item on a flat screen monitor attached to the cart. The flat panel LCD screen on the shopping cart would also offer specials and discounts, and give the shopper options for choosing generic products over branded ones, then show the customer their total checkout total automatically depending on what they put into the cart. There would be no need to enter the item on the screen once taken off the shelf. The cart would have sensors that would detect it being put into the cart or taken out. Totals would be automatically updated. RFID technology is quickly progressing to support real-time integration of transactions (Krotov, Junglas, 2008). WalMart has been one of the leading companies globally investing in this technology for supply chain optimization (Ford, 2008). Once the shopping was completed the customer could choose to have the groceries packaged up, or take a bag and bag them on their own. When the RFID cart left a specific checkout point in the front of the store the credit card on file for the customer would be charged for what was in the cart. This would significantly streamline grocery shopping and also give retailers more control than ever before on their inventory positions as well by retail location.
SpeedPass for Rental Cars
One of the most aggravating aspects of business travel is getting a car rented and getting on to a hotel or an appointment. Even with one-stop programs that Avis, Hertz, and many other car rental companies have, there is often a queuing delay and process-related slowdowns (Papier, Thonemann, 2008). From personal experience of traveling with family members who participate in these programs there is still aggressive upsell of insurance in high-risk rental areas including Hawaii. This is extremely time-consuming for vacationers who are members of the car rental companies yet still have to queue up to get approved for insurance in the Hawaiian Islands were car insurance is prohibitively expensive. A solution to this is to create special SpeedPass based on RFID technology (Krotov, Junglas, 2008). The SpeedPass would be an RFID chip embedded in plastic, preapproved based on a renter’s record, insurance ratings, and credit ratings if applicable, and mailed to the cardholder for their use in high risk areas. The SpeedPass would then be scanned at the rental desk in the airport and the car would be lined up by the rental center. The customer could take the bus to the SpeedPass lane, and the RFID contained they had would flash their specific stall number and then they would get their car. Just to make sure the right customer got the right car RFID scanners would be underneath the dashboard and the car would only start for the right RFID card match. By simply typing in a short code, the support staff getting the cards lined p would be able to ensure only the right customer gets the right car. This would save hours of time in high risk insurance areas that also happen to be tourism destinations including Miami Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, New Orleans, San Diego and Hawaii in the U.S. And throughout European nations with high insurance rates.
WiFi and Business Services on Amtrak
Astoundingly on the most advanced trains in the U.S. there is no free WiFi, from the high-speed Acela that links the eastern U.S. cities of Boston, New York and Washington D.C. And the StarLight Special across the west coast. Ironically a San Francisco-based company has pioneered the development of WiFi for trains yet only European, UK-based and Swedish airlines are using it (Tulloch, 2004). For Amtrak to gain greater market share relative to low-cost airlines and the alternative of driving, the U.S. Government needs to offer free WiFi as quickly as possible. This would significantly increase the attractiveness of using trains for business and leisure trips and position Amtrak as focused on being customer-centric. WiFi would also attract many business people content to have meetings on the way to business trips on the train as they can stay in touch via WiFi. It could feasibly lead to leasing conference facilities in specific cars equipped for teleconferences, drastically reducing wasted time of travel.
Harold Boeck, and Samuel Fosso Wamba. 2008. RFID and buyer-seller relationships in the retail supply chain. International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management 36, no. 6, (June 1): 433-460.
Ford, R.. 2008. Improving efficiency by maximizing technology. Retailing Today: CONNECTING NORTHWEST ARKANSAS, October 1, 7.
Michael Heiss. 2006. Simple, Subtle, Memorable Tech Perks Make A Difference At Retail. Systems Contractor News, January 1, 40
Krotov, V., and I. Junglas. 2008. RFID as a Disruptive Innovation. Journal of Theoretical and Applied Electronic Commerce Research 3, no. 2, (August 1): 44-59.
Papier, F., and U. Thonemann. 2008. Queuing Models for Sizing and Structuring Rental Fleets. Transportation Science 42, no. 3, (August 1): 302-317.
James Tulloch. 2004. ALL ABOARD. Mobile Communications International, April 1, 1.
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