Should you consider a self-checkout system for your business?

For the most part, business efficiency when it comes to self-checkout services means a decrease in customer efficiency and satisfaction

self-checkout businessSAN FRANCISCO, Calif. Jan. 19, 2017/ Troy Media/ – Many of the big box stores seem to have self-checkout systems, so why not your business? On the surface it seems to be a good idea. After all, if you can reduce your need for manpower by using a self-checkout system, doesn’t that mean reduced overhead? It depends. Some businesses are able to effectively use a self-checkout system. But there are others where it only means more hassle for your shopper and for you.

There are trade offs …  and the results might surprise you

Cutting down manpower and reducing employee overhead seems like an attractive idea. But what is the tradeoff for [popup url=”http://www.rm-solutions.com/blog/smart-alternatives-to-self-checkout-for-a-more-profitable-pharmacy” height=”1000″ width=”1200″ scrollbars=”1″]using self-checkout POS systems[/popup]? Less staff at counters can give [popup url=”http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/household-bills/10603984/Shoppers-steal-billions-through-self-service-tills.html” height=”1000″ width=”1200″ scrollbars=”1″]rise to more instances of store theft[/popup]. But that is not all. There is the human interaction element that is lost when you have a computer ringing up a sale.

Businesses that are able to [popup url=”https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/245848″ height=”1000″ width=”1200″ scrollbars=”1″]portray a compassionate presence[/popup] do better than their counterparts. And sometimes a “Hello, how is your day,” even when you know it’s being said for the thousandth time by a cashier, can give you a temporary boost. Why? Because being social makes people happier. A study covered by Stanford University showed that social ties can even go so far as to improve people’s health levels. So there may be unexpected costs in that race to greater efficiency that are worth paying attention to.

Who does self-checkout really benefit?

Self-service checkouts are touted as a good idea for businesses looking to streamline efficiency measures. Almost as an afterthought, some marketers claim that customers prefer the privacy and speed that self-checkout stations give. But is that really true?

In one story covered by [popup url=”http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/marketplace-are-you-being-served-1.3422736″ height=”1000″ width=”1200″ scrollbars=”1″]CBC[/popup], shoppers with matching shopping lists were timed to see which checkout option was faster. In most of the cases, the cashier was able to ring up sales faster and with less problems than a person using a self-checkout station. So while it may seem a cost-effective measure for businesses, using self-checkout is likely to be at an efficiency cost for the consumer. But it is not just efficiency at stake.

Self-checkout stations a source of frustration for shoppers

According to Consumer Reports, here is a breakdown of who found self-checkout annoying and in what way …

  • 30 per cent of men and 32 per cent of women said that self-checkout did not work properly.
  • 30 per cent of men and 22 per cent of women said the person ahead of them took too long to figure out how to operate the self-checkout kiosk.

So on average, [popup url=”http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2015/04/the-pros-and-cons-of-supermarket-self-checkout/index.htm” height=”1000″ width=”1200″ scrollbars=”1″]three out of 10 surveyed[/popup] considered self-checkout to be more of a hindrance than a help.

If a customer becomes frustrated with their shopping experience, they are less likely to return. In fact, Lee Resources reports that [popup url=”https://www.helpscout.net/75-customer-service-facts-quotes-statistics/” height=”1000″ width=”1200″ scrollbars=”1″]91 per cent[/popup] of unhappy customers will not do business with you after a bad experience.

Of course, there are those cases where customers do, indeed, want privacy. And businesses that sell products where privacy is a concern should be aware of their customers’ needs in that regard. But for the most part, business efficiency when it comes to self-checkout services means a decrease in customer efficiency. Which could lead to customers remembering their [popup url=”http://tweakyourbiz.com/marketing/2016/08/09/how-can-small-businesses-create-a-positive-customer-experience-247/” height=”1000″ width=”1200″ scrollbars=”1″]shopping experience[/popup] as a poor one.

Self-checkout does come with some benefits and advantages. Generally, there is an argument to be made that self-checkout kiosks take up less physical space. Again, however, this becomes more of a selling point to the business than an advantage to the customer. This is not to say that all demographics prefer regular cashier lines over self-checkout. As with all business decisions, research into what your largest customer base wants. This will help you make smart moves that will foster customer satisfaction and not frustration.

Rachel is a Troy Media freelancer. [popup url=”http://www.troymedia.com/become-a-troy-media-contributor/” height=”600″ width=”600″ scrollbars=”1″] Why aren’t you?[/popup]

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