Tag Archives: retail

burger studio kiosk

The Social Incentives of Self-Service

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Gretchen Gavett had a really interesting piece in Harvard Business Review that got me thinking. The article was about self-service kiosks that we see popping up in many consumer domains, including retail stores, fast food restaurants, gas stations, buying tickets for transportation or entertainment venues, and more. Their popularity has often been sold as a cost saver because the consumer is doing the labor for free, saving money on cashiers and customer service.

It turns out that self-service technologies can pretty dramatically change what people do and how they act – though the research is hardly clear-cut on it being the best option for all businesses.

a hamburger

The Value Proposition of Thinking in Round Numbers

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Today’s topic, the Dollar Menu. We see these are many fast food restaurants. But it turns out, it was a big mistake to create these. It was inevitable that inflation would make anything in this category as a losing proposition for the restaurant. We saw the serving size get smaller and smaller, but there is only so far that can take us. But the restaurants found themselves unable to change the menu to the “Dollar and ten cents menu.” The round number of the Dollar had created a strong mental schema of the value proposition that a dollar ten just couldn’t match…

a man standing in front of a large vending machine

Commitment Device: Constraining Users for their Own Good

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Springwise has been reporting on a variety of vending machines that constrain user behavior for their own good.

Businesses often stand by the motto ‘the customer is always right’ — but are they? We’ve already seen a few services that deny consumers what they want based on their personal info…

a room full of airplane seats

Custom Airplane Seating

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Fast Company had an article last month that triggered an idea. The original talks about adjustable seating in airplanes that could be more customized than what we have now. They would be set on tracks in the floor so they could move back and forth. When you reserve your seat, you input how much legroom you want so when you get on the plane it is adjusted accordingly…

a woman carving a turkey with a child looking on

Bring Some HF/E to Your Thanksgiving Meal

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In honor of Thanksgiving, I thought I would provide some warnings about the risks you may want to watch out for as you celebrate the holiday. Since it is a holiday post, I didn’t feel obligated to check for hard statistics on any of these. I am pretty sure that these are well established risks on Thanksgiving…

multiple lines of people waiting at a grocery store

Bad Luck or Conspiracy in the Checkout Line

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I am sure this will resonate with many of you, and you have probably thought about it from a HF perspective many times while waiting in the slowest checkout line in the store.

You run into the grocery store to quickly pick up one ingredient. You grab what you need and head to the front of the store. After quickly sizing up the check-out lines, you choose the one that looks fastest. You chose wrong…

a pile of sim cards for cell phones

Global Mobility

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I have recently discovered the Daily Tech News Show and I have become a real fanboy. Last week, there was a great segment on how to get mobile access when you travel internationally. The conversation was largely n=1; they shared personal experiences or those they had heard about from friends and family. But these informal evaluations really focused on some key UX issues…

a napa vineyard

Insurance Loopholes and Behavioral Nudges

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Two stories in the news caught my eye today, at first because of the similarities but then because they are so different. OK, now that you are totally confused, let me explain what I mean. The first article was in Bloomberg Business Week and covered the recent earthquake in Napa Valley.

Unless the federal government designates Napa a disaster, winemakers will not be eligible for special loans.

The second story talked about businesses that were hurt by the tornado in July in Revere, MA. Tornados are extremely rare in Revere and very few businesses had tornado insurance. And as with the Napa wineries, most of them are small businesses with an eye on expenses. And as with the Napa wineries’ insurance, many of them found themselves with loophole-riddled policies…

two women meeting at a coffee shop

Ebanking and Capital One 360 Cafés

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When I read about the new Capital One cafés opening up in Boston I was intrigued. The basic idea is that bank branches don’t support the significant expense of maintaining them. But there are enough people and activities that they support that banks don’t really want to get rid of them completely. So how do you balance the tradeoffs? The café is Capital One’s idea for how to bridge the gap. I have not been to one, so I am doing a little imagining here.

At Capital One 360®, we believe banking should fit comfortably into everyday life. That’s why we’re not just online and mobile; we can now be found in Cafés opening across Boston. A place where you can get your banking questions answered or simply recharge your lives with free WiFi, tips on saving time & money.

a bunch of strawberries

Instant Gratification

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This article from Jason Hreha at Big Think got me doing some big thinking (sorry, but I had to go there). The basic message of his article is that we have a strong movement in business innovation towards instant gratification. And there are many kinds.

New kinds of products, in which a user can press a button and instantly herald something into the world, are what I call “Instant Gratification Technologies.” They let us get what we want right away.