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Digitalization of the POS: Varying Consumer Acceptance in Europe

The digitalization of the trading environment has a growing influence on the Point of Sale. Because of new technologies, retailers are now able to provide services that can theoretically offer additional benefits to the customer and the vendor alike.

For two years now, the large German drugstore chain dm offers an electronic receipt (E-Bon) to its customers. Customers with a payback card can sign-up for the E-Bon service and will receive their receipts via email after paying at the register. But according to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, as of September 2014 only 11.000 customers took advantage of this system. The opinion research center IFH Köln surveyed several European countries and asked how people view new technologies at the POS. The results between the countries varied significantly.

People from the Netherlands rated the E-Bon as quite useful: They gave it an average of 6.8 out of 10 points. Customers from Spain (6.2) and Great Britain (5.7) gave similar results. The German customers however, don’t seem to see the advantages of this system (yet). They gave it 3.8 points on average.

A different system, the personalized receipt, which shows discounts and coupons based on the customers’ individual shopping behavior, has been reviewed more positively by the Germans: It got 5.7 points on average. A possible reason might be that the benefits of discounts and coupons are easier to spot. But the survey also showed that Spaniards (8.1), Brits (6.5) and Dutch (6.0) rated these benefits higher than the Germans.

Bettina Seul, division manager from the IFH Köln, explains the results like this: “German consumers are no innovation drivers; when it comes to technological developments at the POS they are skeptics. Technologies that need explanation, like the E-Bon, are not rated well yet. This means for the retailers, that the positive values have to be explained clearer to the customers. Testing out something new without seeing the direct advantages doesn’t seem to work for German customers.

Further information: ifhkoeln.de

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