First things first - why would BT have a ‘store of the future’? The answer is simple: it is at the forefront of technology which could be applied to retailing and which could change - and simplify - the way retailers run stores and the way consumers shop.
BT likes to refer to Ker’ching as an ‘empowered’ retail store because cutting-edge technology manages networks and applications, leaving the retailer empowered to serve their customers.
In the Ker’ching store biometric fingerprint recognition is used so consumers can pay by touch - they don’t need their purses or wallets because once they’ve registered their profile online they just need their PIN number and fingerprint to pay.
Promotions and offers are sent direct to the customers, for instance, they might get a text telling them their favourite wine is on offer, or if they come into the shop in the next 30 minutes they’ll get 10% off.
Digital signage can be controlled by staff, so messages can be changed immediately to capture shoppers’ attention.
Communication is instantaneous so if a fridge door isn’t shut the manager gets a message alert. He can close the door and automatically change the shelf-edge labelling to cut the price of the fridge’s contents. If the fridge contained cream, for instance, the manager could use the digital signage to cross-sell the cut-price cream with fresh strawberries.
This may all sound like science fiction but BT is already using some of this technology with its retail partners.
Marks and Spencer, for example, uses intelligent labelling on some of its clothing ranges to ensure it has the right sizes available at all times on the shopfloor.