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The Wall Street Journal reports that "retail chief information officers are weighing technology developments that would streamline the in-store payment process, refocusing on an area they say has lagged behind."

The reason:  While the pandemic prompted retailers to put more of the energies - and money - into e-commerce, the end of the pandemic, combined with headwinds created by inflation and a recessionary mindset among many consumers, has resulted in e-commerce being "16.4% of all retail shopping, down from 18.8% at the height of the pandemic.  CIOs say they could risk losing their customer base to antiquated in-store technology, although cost could be a barrier to making some of these investments."

According to the Journal, "Tech leaders at companies like Kroger Co., Nordstrom Inc. and Halfords are considering what new technologies could improve the payment process for customers, offering the type of seamless experience in stores that customers are used to when shopping online … Kroger is testing a shopping cart equipped with cameras and sensors that track what a customer is buying so that individual items no longer have to be scanned at checkout, said senior vice president and CIO Yael Cosset.

"Mr. Cosset also said he is looking at the possibility of installing checkouts in individual aisles so that if customers want to quickly grab an item they can check out right there."

At Nordstrom, Dennis Bauer, the company's president of credit, loyalty and payment services, "said he has his eye on a nascent technology that would allow payment to be received via a mobile phone rather than a traditional payment terminal."

KC's View:

One of the most important things that retail leaders can focus on these days is eliminating friction for the customer - and for internal operations - wherever it exists.

That means both in-store and online.  Retailers can focus on both areas at once.  And, quite frankly, should … because while there may be some backsliding in terms of e-commerce sales, that's probably situational and temporary, reflecting both a post-pandemic mindset and inflationary realities.  Neither of which are permanent.