Self-checkout has become such a common fixture in grocery stores; it's hard to remember a time when it wasn't there. The technology has been around for the last two decades or so, and while self-checkout lanes are standard in large grocery chains, their adoption still lags behind in smaller chains.
Frictionless shopping. It’s a term that gets thrown around a lot these days and connotes an evolved customer experience where shoppers reach a state of shopping nirvana. It also takes on new meaning in the midst of a pandemic requiring social distancing and other measures to limit close personal contact. But to Paul Lysko, Global Product Line Director, Self-Service Solutions at Toshiba, frictionless shopping is more than a self-service e-commerce experience where customers simply click and pay. It is the collection of all elements of an in-store experience that provide value over and above the technology involved. Beyond just achieving their shopping goal, it’s that feeling a shopper gets that the experience of visiting the store was efficient, positive, and even one of beneficial discovery.
Even the most “bare bones” point of sale (POS) system can tell you a lot about your grocery business. The POS captures checkout activity, like which lanes are the busiest and how many transactions are going through your self-checkout lanes versus non-self-checkout lanes. It can also capture which cashiers are ringing up the most transactions, the most per department, or the highest dollar amount per ring. And, of course, there is product information, departmental and total sales figures, your top 100 items, and so forth. That’s a lot of data.
Since nearly every major retail grocery store has self checkouts today, nine out of 10 customers that walk into any store have used a self checkout at some point. These self-service alternatives to traditional checkouts have become quite popular with shoppers. They all work pretty much the same in every location, and seeking to control their own retail experience, customers actively seek them out when they’re ready to pay for their purchases.
Retail staff scheduling affects more than just your grocery store’s operation, it also impacts your employees. As a grocery store manager, you put in a lot of work to create an optimal schedule, only to have to change it as employees send in last-minute requests. And for employees, shift work can be unpredictable, making it a challenge to schedule their personal lives into the future.
As a grocery retailer who’s always taken the steps to stay PCI compliant, you may think you’ve done everything you need. But that might not be enough to protect you and your customers. Did you know that even if you’ve taken every precaution, you could still be at risk? That’s because anyone who touches the environment where customer payments are handled must also be PCI compliant—including your resellers and technology providers.
As a grocery retailer whose point-of-sale system depends on either Microsoft Windows or Windows Server, the recently announced cumulative update for Windows 10 will impact your operations. Will it affect your NCR ENCOR POS system? Do you need to worry about hardware or software issues? Will you have to invest any time or money in this upgrade?
Does the rise of eCommerce mean the end of brick-and-mortar retail? With household names such as Sears, Payless, and Toys “R” Us shuttering stores across the country, it’s tempting to assume that all shopping—including grocery shopping—will eventually take place in virtual spaces. Even major grocery chains such as Kroger and Safeway are rolling out their versions of the digital disruptions pioneered by Amazon, such as recommendation engines, subscription models and curbside (or same-day home) delivery.
“Debit or credit?”
Grocery shoppers want convenience, and they want choices. These facts aren’t new. But buyer expectations—and how they define both convenience and choice—aren’t the same as they used to be.