Self-checkouts Prized by Grocery Shoppers for Ease, Speed, Control


Consumer transaction technology firm NCR Corp., Duluth, Ga., unveiled results of a global shopper survey on use and preferences associated with self-checkout (SCO) technology. Globally, 90 percent of respondents use SCO technology. The figure dips slightly in the U.S., where 84 percent of shoppers use SCO.

The study, conducted by NPD Group on behalf of NCR, revealed that shoppers like the convenience, ease of use and speed that SCO offers. More than 2,800 respondents weighed in from nine countries, including Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States. “Shoppers also like the control SCO offers, maybe to pack their own groceries or check prices,” says Dusty Lutz, general manager of self-checkout solutions at NCR Retail.

“As consumers become more comfortable with the technology, and as technology improves, we expect it to grow,” Lutz told Progressive Grocer.  In terms of adoption, men are slightly more likely than women to use SCO, and in terms of age, 73 percent of respondents 65 and older use SCO, an indication that usage transcends age. “We’re seeing a growing appetite for SCO, when appropriate,” he says.

Enhancing the Checkout Experience 

The sweet space for SCO has been smaller baskets of five to 15 items. “Shoppers have a lot of trips that fit that profile, but many also shop for the week, and have 40 to 50 items. We’re working on projects for large order service that delivers the same experience.” One solution is ScanPortal, which is a combination of assisted and self-service checkout, where attendants handle produce, items sold by weight or age-restricted items. Another solution is a convertible self-checkout, which can be either cashier-manned during peak periods, or converted to SCO to provide more choices for shoppers.

NCR also views small, card-only SCOs as a growing area for retailers that want to offer additional convenience in select areas of the store, such as in-store delis. “The card-only is reduced foot print, a small unit that allows consumers to easily scan a few items. It’s great for high traffic areas where people are dropping in for a drink and sandwich at lunch, or a magazine after work. It’s an additional checkout point that’s affordable for the store, but gives shoppers more checkout options that makes the trip faster,” says Lutz.

“We’re always working with retailers and consumers to learn what the inhibitors are to using SCO more often. We’ve got some innovations in the works to make transactions even easier. We want to eliminate interruptions, such as ‘item in bagging area,' with intelligent video monitoring, called SmartAssist… it helps make the journey more seamless, and extra security is a bonus.” The ultimate goal, says Lutz, it driving a quicker, better experience for the shopper, including shorter lines, a quicker transaction, but with an optimal experience.


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