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.
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.
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.
Walmart recently celebrated the 30th anniversary of its Supercenter store format launch. That’s how long shoppers have been able to one-stop-shop for sneakers for the kids, replacement wiper blades on their minivan, a weeks’ worth of food for their refrigerator—and a lot more. This particular retail customer experience has proven to be enduringly popular, so much so that Walmart now operates more than 3,500 Supercenters across 49 states.
According to the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention, more than 10 million people have been caught shoplifting over the last five years. And with the holiday season in full swing, increased store traffic means a greater risk of retail theft than at other times of year.
In today’s world, the power of information is right at our fingertips. Anything you want to learn, buy, or watch can be accessed via smart phone, tablet, or computer. This has made processes easier, more organized, and efficient. Technology has changed how we communicate, pay bills, and even how we date. We’ve eliminated the necessity of shopping in retail stores, renting VHS, buying vinyl records, and now – going to the grocery store.
As vice president of sales for TRUNO, I’m constantly thinking about how we can improve the lives of store operators. My passion for helping retailers solve challenges is a direct result of my own career in the industry. I know first-hand the thoughts that keep a store operator up at night, but I also know how the proper retail technology can help them sleep easier.
Not so many years ago, grocery shopping used to be a more personal experience. Families shopped at the same store every time, usually on Sundays, to buy food and supplies for the week. It was quite common—and even expected—for shoppers to build relationships with store employees. The butcher knew customers’ names and what cuts their families preferred. And the cashier greeted them with a smile and asked them how their day was going.
According to a report published in Food Dive earlier this year, 95 percent of shoppers just want to be left alone in stores. What does that mean for customer service-oriented grocers? Turns out self checkout meets the needs of customers—in more ways than one.