Aside from the ATM, self-service systems in retail are the most influential kiosks in use today. Supermarket self-checkout has now grown to many other areas of retail, such as hardware stores, department stores and big box retailers. The expansion of self-service is fueled by customer affinity of the units, as well as adoption and acceptance of do-it-yourself shopping. The growth of this technology has now hit the tipping point where customers expect a self-service option at many retailers.
A recent study from Forrester Research found that once inside stores, self-checkout is the most widely adopted in-store technology used (71 percent). Other retail self-service devices such as handheld scanners, kiosks for swiping loyalty cards to receive personalized coupons and touchscreen digital signage also showed high interest.
For retailers themselves, this is all good news. By satisfying consumer demand for retail self-service, retailers can improve their overall customer experience while at the same time providing better customer service. The use of self-checkout means more lanes are open and employees displaces by the kiosks can be reallocated to more hands-on customer service roles.
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Retailers also experience increased sales through the use of self-checkout. Self-checkout kiosks are designed to offer a greater degree of choice and speed of use, which can affect a shopper’s decision on where to shop, especially when considering quick convenience items. On the back end, retailers benefit from enhanced reporting directly from the point-of-sale to the back office.
Those seeing the most success with retail self-service are retailers who unite the self-checkout experience throughout all of their locations, yet customize it enough that they are differentiated from their competitors.
The leading providers of self-checkout technology for retailer are also leaders in the kiosk space. According to a survey from Retail Banking Research, self-checkout units from NCR, Fujitsu, IBM and Wincor Nixdorf account for 99 percent of the world’s self-checkout market.
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