Shoppers Want Self-Checkout—Survey

A just-released survey from NCR Corporation shows that shoppers appreciate the speed and efficiency of self-checkout (SCO), recognize the choice of SCO as a customer-service differentiator and are eager to have more SCO options at retail segments like convenience stores and mass merchants.

NCR randomly surveyed 400 U.S. grocery store shoppers, half using SCO and half using cashier-assisted checkout, and found a majority of both groups – 78% and 60% respectively – said “it’s usually faster than going through a cashier-assisted line” when asked “What do you like about self-checkout?”

Highlighting the importance of providing checkout choice as a customer service differentiator, 64% of self-checkout shoppers and 44% of cashier-assisted shoppers said they “agree” or “strongly agree” with the statement “I believe retailers who offer SCO provide better customer service.”

Many shoppers in both groups were eager to see SCO expanded to other segments.  About 70% of SCO shoppers said they would like to see SCO offered at mass merchants and at drug stores, followed by do-it-yourself stores (61%), convenience stores (50%) and department stores (43%).

About 50% of cashier-assisted shoppers want SCO expanded to mass merchants, do-it-yourself stores and drug stores, followed by convenience stores (44%) and department stores (27%)

For these questions, shoppers in both groups picked multiple retail segments into which they would like to see SCO expanded.

“Shoppers recognize the speed and value self-checkout provides and are eager to see it expanded into other retail segments,” said Scott Kingsfield, senior vice president and general manager, NCR Retail.  “Even among shoppers using assisted checkout, there’s strong appreciation for the benefits this technology provides.  Retailers increasingly are finding their shoppers want choices in how they interact with stores at which they shop, and one of the biggest choices these shoppers say they want is self checkout.”

Basket size appears to be a main factor shoppers consider when choosing between SCO or a cashier-assisted lane, although 56% of the 200 SCO shoppers surveyed said they use SCO lanes every time they shop, regardless of basket size.  Thirty-five percent said they use SCO only when they have a few items in their basket and 7% said they use SCO when the cashier lines are too long.

Of the 200 shoppers using assisted checkout, 35% said they chose an assisted checkout lane vs. an SCO lane because they had a large number of items in their basket.  Another 16% said they do not like SCO and 12% said an assisted checkout lane with no line was available, causing them to choose assisted checkout vs. SCO.

Remarkably, considering SCO has been around since the late 1990s, 6% of shoppers using an assisted checkout lane said they chose that lane because they still don’t know how to use SCO.

The surveys were conducted by independent researchers between January and May at U.S. grocery stories in the Northeast and Midwest.  The 400 respondents were intercepted and interviewed immediately after completing their purchases, with half having just used self checkout lanes and half having used assisted checkout lanes.

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