The popularity of self-checkout systems at retail establishments has increased. The 2021 State of Self-Checkout Experiences study from Forbes found that 60% of customers prefer self-checkout counters to cashier-assisted ones.
Self-checkouts are increasingly popular, and the majority of supermarket customers are adapted to scanning and checking out their own purchases without help. Self-checkouts are a quick, space-saving, and effective option that benefits both customers and merchants. However, merely adding self-checkouts does not ensure success. Adopting self-checkout systems is one thing, but implementing them is another. If done improperly, people won’t utilize them and may even push them away from your store.
So, how do you implement self-checkout systems effectively?
What Is a Self-Checkout?
Self-checkouts are devices that let customers scan products and pay for their purchases without assistance from store staff. Unlike in conventional counters where employees do most of the heavy lifting, at self-checkout lanes, customers are solely responsible to complete their shopping. Some self-checkout facilities, however, may be supervised by one or two staff members who are available to help consumers in need.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Self-Checkouts
- Enhanced Productivity
Self-checkout reduces the demand for staff at a company. There won’t be many employees needed at the cash register, although they may still be required to handle inventory, replenish the shelves, and other store responsibilities, saving money as a result.
- Positive Customer Experience
Consumers’ number one complaint is having to wait in long lines to pay for their goods, which is why several people are choosing self-checkouts. They enjoy a better shopping experience and a speedier, line-free checkout.
- Improved Store Capacity
One of the top self-checkout machine benefits is saving space and maximizing store capacity. Self-checkouts have a significantly lower footprint compared to traditional counters. So, either more checkouts may be added to the same space or the extra room can be used for storage and product displays. Additionally, self-checkouts are frequently quicker than human checkouts, and there is generally just one line for several self-checkout counters, saving the store some valuable space.
- Risk of Fraud
As you can expect, dishonest individuals could find it alluring when there is no store staff at the checkout. Thus, theft-related losses to businesses may be significant. Such instances can be somewhat decreased by taking appropriate safeguards and measures, such CCTVs and random searches.
- Slow Customer Adoption
Older people might not feel comfortable utilizing new technologies, especially if they don’t perceive any clear benefits. Some people might even enjoy having human contact, even if it slows down the checkout process. It is possible to increase user acceptance with a well-thought-out launch and incentive.
- Lack of Interaction
Depending on the individual, some clients may favour it; others might not. Adding a human element makes your business more approachable and less scary than a store with few employees. So it would be preferable to keep the employees in place. Employees can assist users in resolving any self-checkout issues they may be having.
Ways to Implement Self-Checkouts
A study found that 67% of customers experienced at least 1 failure when utilizing self-service checkouts, and 25% of consumers said they would choose not to use them again in the future. Having a self-checkout POS system is simply not enough, you need a good self-out checkout. Here are some considerations before you introduce self-checkout at your business:
- Analyze Your Store
Different stores call for various implementation strategies. The location of the self-checkouts within the shop will depend on the business’s size, shape, and purpose. Understanding your store and the purchasing habits of your clients is essential in this situation. The objective is to analyze the customer flow from entry to exit and eliminate barriers and bottlenecks to optimize self-checkout adoption, customer pleasure, and eventually income. A human-centred strategy and design can be useful in this situation.
- Know Your Customers
Assess the age groupings, spending habits, and technical proficiency of your clients. Encourage customers to use your self-service checkout by mentioning it to them. You may, for instance, provide exclusive discounts on products purchased at self-checkout. Focus on increasing consumer base awareness to achieve a high adoption rate. You should keep an eye on the solutions you use, gather information on consumer behaviour, and use that information to improve the self-checkout process over time.
- Roll-out Gradually
It’s ideal to gradually introduce your self-checkout kiosks as with everything new. It could be a good idea to start by opening an expedited self-checkout for shoppers with 5 or fewer products while leaving the other checkout lanes open. Keep an eye on how consumers respond, the challenges they encounter, and the barriers they confront. Make the appropriate adjustments in light of this, and then gradually expand.
- Follow the Data
Whatever method you choose to use, keep in mind that the planning and implementation should be an incremental process. To increase the use of self-checkout, various possible checkout situations might be modelled using data from the point-of-sale, customers could be observed and interviewed, and prototypes could be tested.
- Be Ready to Assist
Although eliminating people from the process entirely may be the goal of self-checkouts in the future, the technology is just not there yet. Many stores follow the best practice of always having at least one well-trained employee on hand to help customers with any issues or questions.
It could scale back the number of staff members required as your optimization strategies effectively decrease the number of interventions. But keep in mind that clients will probably feel relieved and anticipate seeing at least one employee prepared to help them if necessary.
- Consider Mix of Methods
Instead of eliminating all cashiers, it’s best to keep at least a few. Self-checkouts may be advantageous for both customers and companies, but it takes time for individuals to adjust to them. Furthermore, it shouldn’t harm the reputation of your brand if customers run into any problems or if the equipment malfunctions for some reason. Customers may choose to buy somewhere else if they feel burdened to utilize a specific choice or do cashier duties to save money. You could take into account a combination of self-checkouts, aided checkouts, scan and go, and assisted fast lanes depending on your industry.
If you prepare carefully, self-service checkouts function effectively. Customers enjoy having more control over their shopping experience and short wait times. They also don’t want to use a difficult system when they could be pressed for time.
Start rolling out self-checkout systems in your store. If you need a reliable self-checkout POS System in Canada, call POSRG Canada at (905) 332-8809.