Customers hate waiting in line to pay for their purchases. Long lines can be a big deterrent, and customers will often leave if they have to wait too long. This results in lost sales, loss of customer loyalty, and poor customer experience.
What Is Self-Checkout, And Why Is It So Popular?
Described in broad strokes, the concept of self-checkout refers to the process of paying for one's items in a retail setting via a self-service methodology, often supported wholly or partially via smart technology.
Self-checkout has been increasing in popularity for several years, and since the outbreak of COVID, it has become the preferred way for many customers to pay for their purchases. It reduces the time spent waiting in line and minimizes contact with both staff and other shoppers.
Less waiting means a better customer experience. Increased customer satisfaction will result in increased customer loyalty and increased sales for retailers.
In addition, long lines of customers are inconvenient and disruptive. Reducing checkout lines and streamlining the payment process makes it easier to run your business and creates a less stressful environment for staff as well as customers:
- Minimize the time customers have to spend waiting in line to pay
- Reduce lost sales
- Optimize staff usage
- Reduce stress on staff
Ombori On the Pros of Self-Checkout
Our new self-checkout solutions are powerful, versatile, and easy to deploy. They run on standard hardware and integrate easily with your existing systems. They are easily configurable to your unique requirements and branding.
Less Waiting: Instead of waiting in line for a manned checkout, customers can go to any vacant self-checkout and check out immediately. This reduces the likelihood that they will leave without making a purchase.
Flexible Store Layout: Self-checkout stations can be placed throughout the store, allowing customers to make payment wherever they are. This reduces queues near manned checkouts and reduces the time they spend in-store waiting to pay.
Deploy Staff More Efficiently: By using self-checkout, staff can be redeployed to other tasks. They have more time for dealing with customer queries.
Improve Manned Checkout Experience: Redirecting customers to self-checkout reduces the line for manned checkouts. This results in fewer frustrated customers and creates a more pleasant checkout process.
Integrate With Online Sales: By integrating with our Endless Aisle app, customers can browse and purchase items that are not currently available in-store, and arrange to have them delivered or collect them later.
Upselling During Checkout: Using Guided Selling functionality, you can recommend additional purchases to customers during the checkout process. For example, you can offer an extended warranty when they purchase electronic goods.
Flexible Touchless Payment Options: Customers can pay with credit cards or using their phones
The Potential Cons (And How To Navigate Them)
Though the use of self-checkout technology continues to rise in popularity and preference, the process does create the capacity for some negative effects. However, with the right technology, training, and adoption of services, self-checkout can be seamless, elevating the overall customer experience.
Usage Difficulties: According to Business.org, "Sometimes, customers can be frustrated by a self-checkout machine that doesn’t work intuitively." To offset this potential negative scenario, businesses can employ staff to manage self-checkout kiosks, troubleshooting as needed. Additionally, by implementing highly intuitive and easy-to-use technologies, businesses in all industries can ensure a smooth user experience.
Increased Theft Rates: While a Forbes study showcased that about 4% of merchandise scanned through self-checkout kiosks is not paid for, this number is not strikingly larger than other methods of theft. However, to counterbalance theft occurrences, business owners and operators can place visible security systems within the storefront, and employ watchful employees within the self-checkout area. The presence of employees is enough to deter most theft occurrences.
Potential Loss of Jobs: One of the most prominent concerns regarding self-checkouts is the perception that the presence of self-checkout lanes will cut down on jobs, making cashiers obsolete. While this concern lingers, various companies are pledging to transparently discuss their shifts in operations, in the wake of using self-checkouts. For example, Walmart Canada recently highlighted that the increased use of self-checkouts would not result in job losses. Instead, traditional cashiers would be introduced to various other positions and would be utilized in a more streamlined and innovative manner, a win for everyone involved.
Andreas is Founder and CEO of Ombori. He is a serial entrepreneur who has founded several companies, starting in his teens. He has a background in cybersecurity, and has worked for companies such as H&M and Nordnet Bank. Andreas is a passionate believer in digital transformation, and is constantly seeking ways in which technology can change the way we work, shop, and live our lives.