March 14, 2023The Benefits of Self-Checkout
Despite predictions of the demise of physical stores, brick-and-mortar locations have continued to thrive alongside ecommerce. In fact, accrording the US Dept of Commerce, in 2021 brick and mortar stores grew faster than ecommerce for the first time ever, with physical stores growing at 18.5% versus ecommerce growth of 14.2%. While many customers enjoy the convenience of online shopping, they still appreciate the ability to see and sample products and interact with employees in person. To enhance the in-store experience, technology plays a crucial role, and self-checkout has become an increasingly important aspect of customers' shopping habits.
Across various industries, such as grocery, pharmacy, and retail, customers have shown a preference for self-checkout options. Convertible self-checkout allows businesses to add lanes quickly during peak demand by "flipping" screens, making the process more efficient. In grocery stores, it's suggested that at least one-third of lanes should be self-checkout accessible, while in general merchandise stores, the proportion may reach as high as 80% to 100%.
Rather than being driven by a need to cut labor costs, the adoption of self-checkout is more about addressing the labor shortage in retail. By using self-checkout, businesses can allocate their workforce more effectively, freeing up employees to focus on other tasks, such as customer relations, shelf restocking, and store maintenance. This allows face-to-face interactions to remain a valuable part of the shopping experience.
One technology that has improved self-checkout is the use of RFID, which can scan multiple items at once instead of individually scanning each item. While the investment in RFID technology is more significant, it significantly speeds up the checkout process, allowing customers to get in and out of the store more quickly.
Ultimately, it all comes down to convenience. According to a survey conducted in 2022, 59% of respondents indicated that they would be more likely to spend more if they had a positive in-store experience. By implementing an effective checkout system, retailers can establish an environment that fosters faster transactions, enhanced customer service, and improved sales growth for both the shopper and the store.
By John Lamb