You may love cruising past long checkout lines with self-checkout, but not everyone is in love with the extra automation as there’s fear that it will replace human jobs. Regardless, the self-checkout system market is expected to reach $4 billion by 2024, according to research by Global Market Insights.
As the trend takes off, no matter what users may have to say about it, here is the good and the ugly, and where it’s headed in the future.
Reduced labor costs is one of the biggest potential advantages to businesses. Instead of needing one cashier per checkout lane, stores can now have one check-out manager oversee multiple machines. These machines also generally take up less space, which means stores can add more displays, or add additional checkouts.
From the customer experience point of view, customers can benefit due to a shorter wait in line, especially if cashier lines are large or you’re at the store at a particularly busy period of the day. 39% of users surveyed said that going through self-checkouts is faster than standing in line, according to a study done by NCR.
Additionally, not everyone wants to make chit-chat in the checkout lane. According to SOTI’s Annual Connected Retailer Survey, “73% of respondents were in favor of self-service technologies to improve the retail shopping experience and reduce staff interactions, up 10.6% from last year.”
Not everyone is in love with this new trend, and there are many good reasons why.
Shoplifting is a real issue, and when you’re entrusting customers to check out their purchases themselves, you can expect some cheating to happen. Nearly 20% of people surveyed admitted to having stolen when using a self checkout kiosk, according to a study by Voucher Codes Pro and as reported by The Atlantic.
A case could also be made that self-checkout’s introvert-friendly features are not a good thing, as they negatively affect the customer-store relationship, especially for those shoppers who are less tech-savvy than others and can find the machines intimidating and inefficient. For example, whereas a cashier would be able to explain to a customer why a discount is now invalid, an automated machine may not be able to do that (unless programmed for all scenarios).
Additionally, some people enjoy talking to the cashiers at their local store and maybe even look forward to the interaction — not to mention those who fear that the machines will negatively impact jobs.
What is the future of self-checkout?
It seems as though self-checkouts will continue to increase as store owners continue to modernize their locations. Amazon Go stores have contributed to this uptick as well, by adding competition into the mix. But the self-checkout experience of the future might be different, with just-walk-out technology introduced by Amazon, where the user doesn’t need to check out at all and can simply walk out of the store and be charged for what they purchased.
RFIDs and other technologies are also being introduced with the intention of making the self-checkout process faster, more efficient, and of course, foolproof!