The shopping experience today is almost unrecognisable compared to ten years ago. Retailers are constantly introducing new and innovative technologies to streamline the sales process and make the whole experience a little bit easier. With progress expected to continue at the same rapid rate, we take a look at how one of retails most famous features, self-service checkouts, are streamlining the shopping experience.
If you regularly shop in stores, chances are you will have used a self-service checkout to speed up the process. Self-service checkouts were implemented with the goal of reducing queues, speeding up the payment process, and improving privacy for shoppers – but they can also save businesses money.
According to data, most people visit their local supermarket two times per week. Evidently, with the increase on shopping trips, shoppers are putting fewer items in their basket — supporting the need of a quick self-service check-out. One in four people currently use self-service checkouts, but how they are used is influenced by the shopper’s age. Those who fit in the bracket of 18-39 found this method of checkout easy to use (90%) and half of those over the age of 60 made the same comment.
Self-service checkouts allow customers to scan items through at their own speed, which is both convenient and easy. With this, businesses can reduce the number of unnecessary jobs, which will in turn save on costs. Not only that, traditional conveyer-belt set ups take up a lot of store space — by opting for self-service terminals, you could save a lot of space. Although this could be costly at first, it will have positive impacts in the long run and allow your business to adapt easily with any future technological developments.
By implementing self-service checkouts, retailers can move their focus towards point of sales. While you wouldn’t necessarily still have traditional service checkouts in place, your trained point of service team will be able to tend to customers and offer them tailored advice to what they need.
Self-service checkouts worldwide
Many countries around the world have implemented self-service checkouts, with Italy and Australia leading the pack. With more self-service terminals in-store, businesses now have the option to reduce the number of people they employ and encourage shoppers to scan their own items. However, levels of employment are set to increase, as self-service checkout theft is becoming a greater issue. Over a 12-month period, Coles Supermarkets caught over 11,000 shoppers stealing from self-service terminals — leading to more stores training up staff members to help prevent this from continuously occurring.
Studies show that over 60% of retail businesses expect to implement self-service checkouts over the next 12-18 months. Customer experience software has numerous measurable benefits. However, you must also consider:
- How will you deal with potential theft and/or inventory management?
- What is the best approach to integrate this into your store design?
- How can you use self-service to optimize your customer experience?