Step into any big department store, grocery store, or fast food chain, and you’ll probably see a self checkout terminal.
They’ve quickly become a staple in the retail and service industry, with 47% of adults reporting using self-checkout on a regular basis. With the inevitable shift towards automation, and the growing demand for social distance, self-checkout keeps growing in popularity – and not just for big chains.
In 2021, more and more small businesses are integrating self checkout into their stores, and for good reason. Terminals like Oliver POS’ Oliver Solo makes it possible for small businesses to start offering self-checkout.
But do you need self checkout in your store? Let’s go over some of the benefits of having a self-service terminal.
With self-checkout terminals, more customers can be served in a shorter length of time, effectively cutting down on long lines and waiting times. Capgemini’s 2019 survey discovered that the number one pain point when shopping in-store is the long lineups at the checkout. Likewise, according to NCR, 39% of consumers like self-checkout because they think it’s faster.
Queues for self-checkout tend to move more quickly, because multiple terminals tend to have a single queue – whereas traditional checkouts tend to have a queue for every checkout.
According to Civic Science’s recent U.S. survey, 46% of respondents aged 18-34 prefer using self-service over service with a cashier. Likewise, the NCR states that the main reason customers like self-checkout is the convenience.
Other reasons include faster checkouts, privacy, control over their purchase, and not having to chat with their cashier. For many customers, checking out their own products is ideal. Especially if they have only a few items orif they’re in a hurry, according to the same study.
Other Benefits: Privacy, control over purchases, and less need to connect with others are also important factors.
Self-checkout makes it possible to double your checkouts – and doubling your sales – without the expenditure of an added employee. Instead of scheduling one cashier per checkout, you can schedule one employee to oversee multiple checkout machines. Although the initial cost of the self-checkout terminals may seem hefty, you will quickly make up for it in the increased sales and the decreased labor costs.
Economic Analysis: Self-checkout doubles the number of checkouts that can be done without hiring twice as many people, which saves a lot of money on labour costs.
Long-Term Investment: Even though there are some costs at the start, the investment quickly pays off with more sales and lower labour costs.
Likewise, self-checkout gives employees the opportunity to be productive outside of the checkout. Instead of spending their shift serving customers, your employees can work on other tasks that might otherwise not get done. Essential tasks such as restocking, checking inventory, cleaning, scheduling, and more, can often be neglected during a busy day of sales. With self-checkout in your store, your employees can get more done.
Efficiency in operations: With self-checkout, employees can focus on jobs like restocking, managing inventory, and store maintenance that get pushed to the back burner when things get busy.
Employee Viewpoint: Interviews with store workers show that having a variety of tasks to do makes them happier with their jobs.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, retail businesses have struggled to maintain business. Although retail businesses have reopened, there are a number of restrictions for maintaining social distance that make it hard for businesses to thrive. Self-checkout allows employees to maintain adequate social distance from their customers, and allows for more checkouts without adding more employees to your store’s capacity. Self-checkout is the most efficient way to stay safe, while also boosting sales.
Pandemic Response: Since COVID-19, self-checkout has become a way for people to keep their social distance in stores.
Safety and Sales: This technology lets more people check out without going over the store’s capacity limits. This strikes a balance between business needs and safety.
Self-checkout systems aren’t just a new piece of technology; they’re also a reaction to changing customer tastes and the need to make operations run more smoothly. The most recent polls and real-life examples show that these systems are very helpful for both customers and companies. But for action to go well, it needs to be carefully planned and both the pros and cons must be thought through.