Toddlers and Spanish tourists designing the FINTECH of tomorrow- Tesco and the industry of Pointless Points
Central London, a busy TESCO store with a queue of the size that would leave even the old Soviet food-stamp distribution centres ashamed.
Young (looking) mum with a three-year-old that incessantly fires a barrage of questions, while the slave-driver sales assistant keeps hurrying people in the queue and pestering them to use the check-out machines instead to the human cashier. Most of them are Spanish tourists that don’t have a single clue about what this guy wants, some of them pretend to be Spanish tourists just not to use the machine. Of course, that is what he’s paid to do and he is trying to make the check-out process faster. Get them to pay and out the door, new ones in and the process is repeated. The process, but not the experience of shopping. Even in big grocery chain, even with tourists that are here now and who knows if they’ll be back, the brand is taking a hit.
Now the mum and the toddler are creeping closer to the end of the line, the moment of truth (payment) is closer, she’s trying to avoid the eye contact with the assistant but he’s a trained pit bull, oh no he’s sure got his penetrating look on them both. „Cash or card? Card? I know you have a card! To the machine please, move along.“ With 2.5 million Spanish teenagers behind them pushing them for a fast answer, mum reluctantly succumbs to pressure, with a final longing glance towards the human cashier that was so close but so elusive.
The check out process begins with a familiar unconvincing female voice barking orders at you of what to do with the non-intuitive machine interface, with occasional bar-code not scannable, item put at the wrong side of the till that does not please the machine, resulting in process being stopped and of course — sales assistant being called to approve the next step. He walks over, robot like, since he’s so used that this happens often, swipes his card, types in his code and they’re good to go again. Just a couple more items, you can do it!
Meanwhile the assistant is trying to convince the droves of Spanish teenagers to use the card on the intuitive machine. You get to speak to the Lady of The Machine too! His barriers are English, but a bigger one looms over that he’s not aware of. Cash, baby. Spain cash economy does prefer, young assistant. No card present.
Don’t worry, we’re getting there. As a final step of the TESCO machine customer journey (or adventure), The Lady Of The Machine asks the magical question: „Do you have a Club Card?“
At this point the imagination of the 3-year-old is tickled and the attention switches from the elusive Kinder Surprise eggs to the metallic Lady.
Mum presses NO. The Lady, offended, continues with asking for a credit card and the whole process finishes within seconds. The Lady reaches from the depths and her hand comes out holding a Receipt, another amazing and wasted touch-point. They are FREE!
As they walk away from the store, 3-year-olds head is riddled with questions and uncertainties.
„Muuuuum, why did you say you don’t have a Club Card?“
She looks at him puzzled.
„What’s a Club Card, mum?“
If I was there with my son, Iwould have had the time of my life, since it’s one of the few chances I have of explaining what daddy does without boring him to death.
I would have said that Club Card is useless shit. A relic from the last century, accumulating useless points that convert to zilch. While not enhancing the experience.
I would have told him that daddy is taking on all that industry and turning it on its head — all in order to put a smile on face of mums, children and spanglish talking visitors.
And daddy has an open field, the retail world is for the taking. Since the fight is with Lady of The Machine and low cost assistants. No wonder online is winning (for now).
My children (3 and 1) are my inspiration. Watching them daily I learn more about how the world (and commerce) can be made better — mostly by unlearning what I’ve been conditioned to do. Amazing Kingdon feature emerge just by watching my children interact naturally with the world. No friction.
That is also how we design our products. No friction. Can be used by 3-year olds.
Our Holy Grail is to make them understood by the younger one too — we’ll get there soon.
Watch out old retail — for the babies are coming to help you!