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Self-service is all about empowering people: Empowering customers to take control of their shopping journey and empowering retailers to think differently about their stores’ possibilities.
A critical part of that elevated service is streamlining what goes on behind the scenes, so when your associates need to check for backstock, help a customer place an online order or track down a one-of-kind item, there are systems in place to support them.
Today’s stores don’t just exist to help customers stock their pantries and tackle to-do lists – they’re in a unique position to deliver a personalized journey for customers.
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Self-service isn't a trend; it's the standard, and it’s a requirement that customers now expect as part of their shopping experience. To offer that kind of experience, retailers must understand customer expectations, future trends, and how new self-service technology can help keep them competitive. With that understanding, Toshiba and PYMNTS.com did a deep dive and published a consumer report1 that shows a growing interest among shoppers for self-service options that remove friction and promote autonomy.
Shoppers and the Self-Checkout Experience
From self-service kiosks to full self-checkout options, shoppers are increasingly looking for faster, more convenient ways to get through the checkout line. The Toshiba and PYMNTS.com report found that 66% of customers1 cited the speed of self-checkouts as the primary reason they prefer that checkout method.
With an ongoing labor shortage and shoppers returning to stores in larger numbers, consumers are seeing longer lines in traditional checkout lanes. As a result, self-service is becoming an increasingly attractive option that saves shoppers time and provides an alternative to in-store interactions. Just over 40% of shoppers1 who use traditional checkout methods do so because it is the only option, and a staggering 80% were interested in trying non-traditional checkouts.
Expanding Beyond the Front-end
While self-checkout at the frontend is important, it isn’t the only place retailers should focus. Shoppers are also looking for in-store ordering on kiosks, mobile shopping with their own devices, smart carts, mobile payments, associate mobility for line/queue busting, and even price checking.
Additionally, self-service is evolving beyond just grocery, where it has historically been most prominent. With new kiosks and all-in-one systems that deliver new features and enhanced loss prevention, there is a growing interest among restaurants, quick service, specialty, and general retail that are finding increasing value in self-service options anywhere in their stores, including in space-limited counters where self-service wasn't possible previously.
What’s Next for Self-Service?
As shoppers become more willing to move away from their favorite brands in exchange for better and more streamlined experiences, retailers must listen to their customers and plan for future consumer trends.
Groups such as Bridge Millennials, Millennials, and Gen Z, whose expectations will define store experiences over the next few decades, are cited as being the overwhelming leaders3 of the push towards self-service experiences with more digital interactions. However, Toshiba and PYMNTS.com found that over 80% of shoppers1 still used in-store shopping as their most frequent shopping method, but over one-third of those said they were willing to switch merchants to get the experiences they wanted.
The growing interest in self-checkout is clear, so retailers must adapt by delivering self-service experiences that give shoppers more control, resulting in less time spent in the checkout line. Customers want retailers to continue implementing self-service options, but they don’t want technology just to have it. They want technology that works to make shopping easier, more informative, and more interesting.
1. “Today’s Self-Service Shopping Journey: The New Retail Expectation,” PYMTNS.com, July 2021.
2. “Convenience & Gas Stores Industry Outlook: Self-Checkout Systems,” Incisiv, February 2022.
3. “Decoding Consumer Affinity: The Customer Loyalty to Merchants Survey 2022,” PYMNTS.com, January 2022
The technology that Toshiba is deploying in stores today can be built upon gradually to create a fully self-service, unattended store in the future. Each piece of technology provides solid value today and in the future. For a more in-depth look at how we can help the shopping experience in your store, check out https://www.acceleratewithpurpose.com
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