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Shoppers Take Checkout Process into Own Hands

Consumers turn to self-checkout when they have limited number of items, want to skip line

May 28, 2015

When it comes time to purchase in-store, shoppers want the speediest checkout process possible, and many are taking matters into their own hands with kiosks, according to April 2015 polling by Retale. Of the more than 1,000 US internet users polled, 85% had used in-store self-service checkout kiosks. This was even higher among younger respondents, as 91% of millennials reported using self-checkout, compared with 81% of the 35-and-older group.

Reasons for Using In-Store Self-Service Checkout Kiosks Among US Internet Users, April 2015 (% of respondents)

Those who had used in-store self-service checkout kiosks were most likely to have done so because they had a limited number of items, cited by 72%. This goes hand in hand with the second most popular reason, not having to wait in line, as both allow users to pay and go quickly. Respondents were much less worried about privacy issues or human interaction—though millennials overindexed for the latter, with one-fifth choosing to check out on their own because they didn’t like interacting with cashiers.

Retailers providing self-checkout need to work out some flaws to provide the best experience. While 67% of internet users said self-service kiosks were convenient, 41% said they could be better. The biggest issues with kiosks, Retale reported, include scanning items (35%), entering coupons (24%), understanding the service screen (16%), paying with cash (15%) and entering product codes (14%).

Types of Retailers that Should Add More In-Store Self-Service Checkout Kiosks According to US Internet Users, April 2015 (% of respondents)

Despite limitations, nearly half (49%) of respondents wanted self-service kiosks in every store. The most in-demand locations were mass merchandisers, supermarkets and drugstores. About one-quarter cited convenience stores, department stores or specialty stores.

March 2015 research by CFI Group found that 65% of US internet users had used self-checkout registers. Nearly nine in 10 used them at grocery stores, three-quarters at large-format discount stores, 61% at freestanding specialty stores, 50% at mall-based specialty stores and 42% at traditional department stores.

Among respondents, the checkout process had the biggest impact on customer satisfaction—even more than price and merchandise. With self-checkout in demand, CFI Group’s findings emphasize the importance of providing the technology in-store—and making sure it works well.

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