While self-service checkouts have been around for years, improvements in technology and increasing customer demand make self-service checkouts an excellent tool to improve customer experience. Recent surveys show that as many as 73% of respondents are in favor of self-service checkouts.
As many as 60% of consumers rate long waits in checkout lines as the number one pain point of their shopping experience. 83% of consumers rate quick and easy checkout as the point they value the most. Self-service checkouts capitalize on these values by improving checkout flow and increasing the number of checkout stations available.
Here are eight ways self-service checkouts can improve customer experience:
- Shorter Wait Times
Everyone has experienced a long line in a supermarket or other retail outlet at peak times. By providing customers with the option of self-checkout or cashier checkout, bottlenecks are significantly reduced. Self-checkout also reduces the risk of human error resulting in longer wait times.
Slow-moving lines provide the unspoken message that your business doesn’t value customers’ time. Self-service checkouts provide the opposite message.
As many as 85% of customers believe self-checkout is faster than cashier checkout, with 59% saying they prefer self-checkout. Whether the efficiency is improved or not, more checkout stations means greater overall efficiency in whichever option customers choose.
- Improved Space Efficiency
One clear advantage for retail spaces is the increased capacity self-checkouts add. Four self-checkouts can fit in the space of an average cashier checkout, allowing stores to immediately increase checkout volume.
Especially for small stores, better utilization of space can allow for improved displays or product placement throughout the store for increased sales and a better customer experience.
- Improved Employee Efficiency
While a cashier is required for each standard checkout, one employee can oversee four checkout stations, increasing employee efficiency. This frees time of the employees to improve other aspects of the shopping experience from displays and product information to personalized customer experience.
It is also useful for businesses to cover times of illness or training new employees as the checkout experience becomes less reliant on employee performance. For customers, this means employees are more available to answer questions and improve the overall shopping experience.
- Reduced Human Interaction
Some customers simply do not want to interact with others while shopping. Other customers are concerned about safety in the midst of a global pandemic and view self-checkout as a safer option. Some customers also view cashiers as pushy or inefficient.
Self-checkout gives these customers the flexibility to select a checkout system that aligns with their needs for improved overall shopping experience.
- Upsell Opportunities
With improvement in self-checkout technology, there are opportunities for businesses to present current offers, sales, and upsells in a way that is perceived as less pushy by customers. This includes offering complimentary items or exclusive discounts in a seamless manner.
Self-service kiosks have been shown to actually drive revenue for physical stores because upsell options are perceived as bonuses or incentives rather than sales tactics.
- Promote Brand Messaging
Self-service kiosks also provide the opportunity to convey brand messaging. Whether that is sustainability or cleanliness of the self-service kiosks, the message you want your customers to take away can be clearly presented to drive home the company values that resonate with customers. Self-service checkouts can be used to make customers feel their needs and values are being addressed.
- Fewer Losses
With less room for human error, self-service checkout options also result in fewer losses. As most self-service checkout kiosks do not use cash, the risk of theft or miscalculations are also reduced. This is better for employee experience and for the bottom line. It also leaves more valuable cash for in-store promotions, prizes, give-aways and other customer incentives.
- Competitive Advantage
Self-service checkout is no longer an advanced technology. It is becoming the market norm. Maintaining the standards and flexibility customers expect will allow other aspects of the business to shine – from superior products to an exceptional shopping experience.
Self-service checkouts demonstrate your company’s commitment to adapting to customers’ needs as well as creating a safe, efficient environment for customers and employees.
Putting It All Together: Improved Customer Experience
From shorter wait times to always having enough cashiers, self-service checkouts are one of the simplest ways to improve overall customer experience. With the additional time and attention of employees on the presentation and welcome of the store, customer service throughout the shopping process from entry to checkout is improved.
Self-service checkouts provide a way to meet the needs of the consumer, promote upsells and brand messaging while also providing greater safety for employees and customers. Self-service checkout can give your business the competitive advantage needed to grow and thrive in the ever-changing marketplace.