In today’s world, technology is evolving the way we live. From travel to education, everything is going digital nowadays. Businesses are making use of this trend to serve their customers better, especially in the shopping and F&B sectors. Here are some examples you may have seen or even used yourself.
- Smartphone applications
Forget online sites and delivery hotlines. Apps like Foodpanda and Shopee act as a one-stop platform which lets you shop or order food easily. With cashless payment becoming more mainstream, apps like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay let you pay with your phone. Cashback apps, like Shopback, return a percentage of your money when you shop online. Who doesn’t love discounts, right?
- Electronic devices at restaurants
I’m sure you’ve been to a restaurant where the waiter takes on your order on a touchscreen tablet instead of a pen and paper. You can also order your own food with an e-menu, like the self-ordering kiosks at Macdonald’s outlets. This way, your order gets to the kitchen faster and you get your food served faster – double win!
- Self-checkout counters at supermarkets
You might have seen these self-checkout counters at your nearest supermarket. My neighbourhood Fairprice outlet has this system and the queues move so much faster compared to the conventional cashier checkout system. Why stand and wait in a queue when you can scan, pack and pay for your items all by yourself?
What are my thoughts on this new phenomenon? I think it makes shopping and dining much faster and more convenient while minimising manpower usage. However, replacing workers with machines removes the customer service experience and the idea of “service with a smile”. In addition, complications may arise from machine faults or limitations of the system.
As technology continues to advance, we can expect to see more efficient, advanced technology changing our shopping and dining experiences. Who knows, one day, technology might allow us to smell and taste food through our phones or make payment for purchases with a simple snapshot or scan of the items. Looking at where we’re at now, it might not be long until these become a reality.
by Lydia Tan