Although the self-checkout kiosk has been around for a while, the pandemic has further accelerated their acceptance, usage and application. As retail business owners and managers, staying up-to-date on what customers expect from these machines is essential. This blog will discuss customer current perceptions of kiosks and provide three key points to help your retail business provide a better customer experience with self-checkout machines.
What is a self-checkout Kiosk?
A self-checkout kiosk is a type of digital device/hardware with a touchscreen display that allows a user to purchase goods and services without the assistance of a staff member.
How do self-service kiosks prevent theft?
Many self-checkout kiosks help prevent theft by weighing products as they are scanned. If the scale detects a heavier item than the shopper scanned, the kiosk can detect this, take a picture of the individual, and contact an employee. This method ensures every item is paid for.
- 20 percent of people said they had stolen at the self-checkout line (ITRetail, 2021).
Most if not all stores have 1-2 employees or security personnel monitoring the checkout area. This has the effect of deterring shoplifting.
How are self-checkouts monitored?
In a traditional retail setting, one cashier is required for each checkout lane. In contrast, one cashier monitors several self-checkout kiosks.
What benefits do self-service solutions offer businesses?
Self-service systems free employees to handle more complex interactions where they can use customer service skills, such as empathy, understanding and problem-solving consumers need and want. In short, things that AI or automated systems are not capable of carrying out.
In addition, the many benefits of self-service kiosks include improving employee productivity. The particular tasks such as offering information, handling checkouts, or doing any custom orders are all automated.
For these reasons, employees can focus on managing inventory, restocking items, addressing customer issues, and boosting sales by engaging with shoppers. And last, self-checkout machines reduce checkout lines and improve customer flow.
How do shoppers benefit from self-checkout systems?
The advantage of self-checkout kiosks is that they allow consumers to purchase goods on their terms without waiting for an employee to be free to help. According to Retail Customer Experience:
- 81% want more self-service options,
- 53% are very satisfied with their self-service.
- 15% are highly satisfied with today’s tools
Self-service checkout kiosks make customers feel safer when purchasing because they can do so without involving others in the transaction. They can maintain a private presence while taking advantage of your company’s goods and services, helping to establish trust with your brand.
Privacy also leads to changing shopping patterns, once the judging eyes of employees are removed from the shopping dynamic. For example, since installing self-serve kiosks, MacDonald’s restaurants have found customer’s upsizing orders among other surprises.
How often do customers use self-Service Kiosks?
Study after study from 2019 onward shows that shoppers use self-checkout frequently and plan to use self-service checkout kiosks even more often going forward. Installing or expanding such kiosks can give consumers what they want while driving revenue by offering exclusive deals, discounts, and upsells presented tactfully.
According to Soocial.com consumers views on self-serve machines to be:
- 85% of customers think self-checkout is faster than waiting in line
- 80% of shoppers prefer a non-traditional checkout
- 66% of consumers prefer self-service options over interacting with store employees.
- 58% of customers have used self-checkout tools
- 47% of customers think self-checkout improves the shopping experience
Self-checkout kiosks are clearly in demand among retailers, and the above data seems to concur that customers want more of them. A study conducted by PYMNTS and Toshiba expects $40 billion in consumer spending currently to be charged through self-serve kiosks, in the U.S. and this will increase to $80 billion by 2026.
The global self-checkout system demand mirrors those consumer numbers as the market was estimated at $3.1 billion in 2020, according to ResearchandMarkets.com it is expected to nearly double to $5.9 billion by 2026.
Three expectations shoppers have when using a self-checkout machine.
l.- Consumers Expect Self-Checkout Kiosks to be functioning.
If retail stores that provide self-checkout machines, customers expect them to work reliably and consistently. Consistent and reliable customer experience is crucial in building strong customer relationships and protecting your business’s reputation.
Consumers are very observant in today’s society. For example, consumers remember which self-service machines were quick and convenient and which stores had long lines and draw immediate conclusions about companies.
ll.- Consumers Expect Self-Checkout Kiosks to be quick and convenient.
The functionality of self-checkout systems is a vital part of the customer experience. If customers can’t work out how to use them, they will gradually gravitate to the competitor that offers a less cumbersome system. Checkout machines should not overwhelm customers with features and should focus on the main task of completing a transaction seamlessly.
A user-friendly self-checkout machine offers recognizable features and utilizes simple instructions to help guide shoppers through the process and eventual payment. In the event of an issue, a trained employee should be nearby to assist while respecting the customer’s autonomy over the transaction.
Bottom line: For many shoppers, convenience is the king.
lll.- Customers expect Self-Checkout Kiosks to be tidy and sanitized.
In part, due to Covid19 driven concerns about viral transmission from human contact; the pace toward convenience-driven self-checkout kiosks has increased in significant numbers. Many grocery stores and retail businesses clean kiosk machines after each usage. In addition, features like QR codes support the principle of contact-free customer-engagement, as customers perceive self-serve to be the safest option.
Store cleanliness is what creates top-rated customer loyalty in any business. Therefore, the cleanliness of the self-checkout machines can influence the overall shopping experience because it is the last thing customers see. Therefore, to satisfy brick-and-mortar shoppers, cleanliness can be the deciding factor between whether they become a customer of yours or a customer of your competition.
With shoppers increasingly using self-checkout machines, retailers need to remember the three essentials customers expect from kiosks: they must be functioning correctly, quick and convenient, and tidy & sanitized. If you want your retail store to remain competitive, ensure that you provide a checkout experience that meets customer expectations. Are you ready to give an excellent self-service checkout experience to your customers?
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