Even before the pandemic, automated cash registers were popular, but in the past year their popularity increased spectacularly. Although the measures are gradually being relaxed, we have discovered how useful self-checkouts are.
In October 2020, the National Retail Federation (NRF) surveyed 2949 adults in the US to investigate how convenience affects customer behaviour and what that could mean for the future of the retail sector. It became clear that shopping convenience becomes more important as our time for family, work or school becomes more valuable. So, of course, people then look at their food store to help them save both time and effort.
For example, 83% of respondents said convenience shopping was more important than five years ago. And 97% say they have once abandoned a purchase because the buying process was clumsy.
This mentality becomes all the more obvious with daily purchases, grocery shopping in the supermarket leading the way. When asked to assess the importance of shopping convenience, 63% say convenience is ‘very important’ when shopping – thus the score for shopping is clearly above that for other categories (clothing, electronics, body care and pet supplies). The respondents were even willing to pay more for more convenience; and here too, messages were at the top of the list (66%).
Where customers experience that convenience when shopping, also plays a role. The study showed that customers, especially at the checkout, find convenience very important.
The NRF report showed that 9 out of 10 customers are ‘more inclined’ to choose a store where shopping convenience is greater. In addition, they would like shopkeepers to do even more to save time and effort, with 55% of respondents asking for a simpler bill.
In Europe we see a similar search for greater convenience. In September 2020, McKinsey surveyed 5338 adults in Italy, France, Germany, Spain and the UK and extrapolated those results to the rest of the European population. The study showed that 82% of people who started using the self-checking cash during the pandemic wanted to continue using it after the crisis.
This figure is remarkably close to the American score of 83%, which confirms that even cash registers may not disappear from our store image any more. In order to be prepared for this rapidly evolving customer behaviour, food stores need to be equipped with the right self-scanning architecture. And that is an architecture that is customizable, for the most flexible shopping experience possible.
McKinsey’s most important conclusion? “For retailers, this means that investing in New checkout technology can pay off quickly.”