Report • 01.09.2014

Modern Checkout Zone – Challenges at the Checkout

Some manufacturers offer a number of system components that integrate all scan...
Some manufacturers offer a number of system components that integrate all scan and payment options.
Source: NCR GmbH

The checkout decides how satisfied the customer is when he/she is leaving the store. Yet the checkout zone is still more of an impersonal handling zone in many stores and markets. This is why retailers need innovative concepts to set themselves apart from their competition and increase efficiency at the store.

The selection of current checkout solutions is admittedly large. Retailers therefore don’t just need an innovative, but also individual solution that is customized to their needs and even to individual stores. To find it, they have to analyze a number of important factors such as product mix depth for instance, buying behavior and customer structure as well as the type of branch and store.

At the same time, the checkout is an extremely personnel- and cost intensive process for retailers. Approximately 24 percent of overall store process costs originate at the checkout. The challenge for retail is to strike a balance between customer satisfaction and cost optimization. And that is not an easy task: if too many checkouts are open, the retailer incurs unnecessary costs; if not enough of them are manned, waiting times increase and customers are dissatisfied. And as is commonly known, customers perceive long lines at the checkout as the biggest nuisance of all during shopping.

Checkout solutions as individual as the customers

There is no one checkout solution that is right for a store. Instead, retailers today should focus on a combination of different solutions, because different customers also prefer different payment options. This is why retailers need to create a checkout mix that is best suited to their store concept. Self-checkouts, mobile shopping and payment at “traditional” checkouts can all be combined in a checkout zone. It forms a very crucial point in the store. Each shopping experience ends at the checkout, because every customer needs to pay.

Self-checkout is becoming increasingly popular

The self-checkout area is increasingly growing. Experts expect 35 percent of all retail transactions by 2016 to be handled at self-checkout terminals. However, you also need to consider country-specific requirements: acceptance and therefore distribution of self-checkouts in supermarkets is far greater in Great Britain for instance than it is in the German-speaking region.

However, to reduce checkout costs and increase customer satisfaction, retailers in Germany also increasingly resort to different automated checkout systems where customers can scan items in their shopping carts themselves and pay for them. Even though these systems significantly reduce personnel expenditures, they don’t automatically shorten waiting times and thus increase customer satisfaction. After all, the customer usually needs a lot more time to checkout than a professional cashier does.

However, this will change automatically of course once self- checkout systems achieve even greater market penetration. Most experiments (see IKEA as an example) already show that the suspected lack of consumer acceptance should not present a problem round here – of course always assuming that the applied solutions are user-friendly and customers are able to use them with ease.

Checkouts become multifunctional – ready for multichannel retailing

Even though self-checkout systems are trendy, these new systems will of course not replace ”traditional“ checkout systems. That said these systems need to also be further developed to integrate new range of functions. This may be the issuing and redemption of coupons – whether that’s on paper or on the Smartphone – as well as loading prepaid SIM cards (e-loading) or contactless payments.

The POS system at the store thus increasingly becomes an all-rounder. According to the current study titled “Checkout Systems 2014“ (German: “Kassensysteme 2014”) by the EHI Retail Institute, which surveyed 55 companies in the German-speaking area that operate 58,300 stores all over Germany, presently 61 percent of interviewed retailers offer couponing at their checkouts. 81 percent of study participants said they plan to offer this option in the future.

The multichannel retailing trend involves new demands especially for checkout systems. It needs to be possible to check for available products, regardless of whether they are kept at the store or the online store warehouse. The exchange of items bought online needs to be an option as well, just like the general identification of the customer, who freely switches between the different retail channels. QR codes are also going to play an increasing role in retail. Already 40 percent of participants of the EHI study are planning to link QR codes at the store with their own online shop.

Retailers also offer new payment methods

28 percent of the surveyed retailers stated they already offer contactless payment today; generally card-based systems and often still just in selected stores. The percentage of planned installations is at 78 percent. Mobile payment – payment with a Smartphone – is already being offered by 24 percent of the surveyed retail companies. This payment method is even meant to be available with 81 percent of retailers. 52 percent of the participants are planning to check out customers with mobile cash registers. Today already 9 percent of companies are also using mobile cash registers.

The changes at the checkout are in full swing

Even though mature technology is already available today many retailers still shy away from self-checkout solutions, because they worry about lack of consumer acceptance for these systems. However, a multitude of installations where these solutions are already being used shows that this fear is mostly unfounded when it comes to the German market.

For retailers, the solution is to focus on a mature and customized system mix in every store. This way, every customer can choose his/her payment method based on individual needs. At least during the transition period, self-scanning systems serviced by personnel can also make sense.

At this point, some manufacturers even offer a number of system components that integrate all scan and payment options. This way, retailers can use self-service solutions (and possibly also kiosks and digital signage) that are tailored to respective customer needs.

Self-checkout systems with scan, payment and bagging modules make it possible for retailers to optimize the use of floor space in the store, improve the customer’s shopping experience and even – given integration of respective components – improve cash management.

Author: Daniel Stöter; first publication EuroCIS.com

related articles:

popular articles:

Thumbnail-Photo: Mobile payments at the supermarket checkout
05.08.2019   #mobile payment #smartphone

Mobile payments at the supermarket checkout

An early adopter’s experience of mobile payments

Or: "What’s that you’re doing with your watch?“I still remember the first time I used mobile payment technology and paid for items with my smartphone at a supermarket checkout: It was October 17, 2018, exactly seven days after ...

Thumbnail-Photo: APG announces the hiring of Mr. Paul Griffiths as its new president and...
09.08.2019   #cash management #cash drawers

APG announces the hiring of Mr. Paul Griffiths as its new president and CEO

Global cash management solution manufacturer welcomes its new president & CEO Paul Griffiths

APG Cash Drawer, a global manufacturer of cash management solutions announces the hiring of Mr. Paul Griffiths as its President and CEO. Most recently, Mr. Griffiths was the CEO of Birchwood Casey, a sporting goods company working with large ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Tackling organized retail crime with video analytics...
26.06.2019   #video surveillance #digital video surveillance

Tackling organized retail crime with video analytics

Inpixon joins forces with National Anti-Organized Retail Crime Association

Inpixon, an indoor positioning and data analytics company, announced it is collaborating with the National Anti-Organized Retail Crime Association (NAORCA Worldwide) to combat retail crime by providing a free 90-day trial offer for IPA Video™ ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Digital Signage Summit (DSS) Europe
07.05.2019   #digital signage #digitization

Digital Signage Summit (DSS) Europe

iXtenso readers receive a 30% ticket-discount!

The two-day event comprises a comprehensive mix of twin-track conference programme; hands-on workshops; exclusive presentations; numerous networking opportunities and a vendor and service supplier exhibition area.In 2019, DSS Europe returns to the ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Sales assistant Remy talks about strange customers and emotional...
25.07.2019   #customer satisfaction #pos marketing

Sales assistant Remy talks about strange customers and emotional decisions

An interview with a fictitious robot that works in retail

There is a lot of hype surrounding humanoid, socially intelligent robots and what they can do. They are interviewed, filmed and tested. Oftentimes, it’s to find out how consumers feel about the machines and how they are accepted by users and ...

Thumbnail-Photo: The future of retail: AI is changing everything...
08.07.2019   #digital marketing #visual merchandising

The future of retail: AI is changing everything

AI-enabled systems help retailers understand their customers

For retailers, winning is still all about delighting the customer. The trick is to move fast enough and to be as nimble as possible to satisfy the customer not only today, but in the future. ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Well cooled shopping entertainment, please!
15.07.2019   #refrigeration cabinets #refrigerated counters

Well cooled shopping entertainment, please!

What about modern refrigeration technology?

Pierluigi Schiesaro and Gian Paolo Di Marco from Arneg, a company focusing on food service equipments, talk about refrigeration systems as "shopping entertainment".They also tell us what sustainable refrigeration could look like and why ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Nets and Swish partner on in-store payments pilot...
23.07.2019   #mobile payment #mobile terminals

Nets and Swish partner on in-store payments pilot

Bluetooth tech enables scalable instore payments for mobile payment app

Nets, a European payments company, and Swish, the number one payments app in Sweden, announce their collaboration on an in-store payments pilot program.Until now, Swish has mostly been used for account-to-account transactions and, more recently, ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Improving performance with video training
19.06.2019   #personnel management #video

Improving performance with video training

Video tutorials for inventory management or customer service excellence

Smart Retail Solutions (SRS) has announced their ProfitTrax Platform is now including Best Practice Video Training in its Advanced Analytics Suite. Their team has successfully implemented the update because they believe the key to profit improvement ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Retailers growing produce in automated farms...
10.06.2019   #food technology #food retail

Retailers growing produce in automated farms

A plug-and-play method to grow clean, healthy food

GP Solutions, a developer of modular, automated micro-farms, announced it is developing systems for major retailers.Throughout the world, companies are embracing the concept of growing clean food onsite in easy-to-operate, automated growing pods. ...

Supplier

Delfi Technologies GmbH
Delfi Technologies GmbH
Landgraben 75
24232 Schönkirchen
APG Cash Drawer
APG Cash Drawer
4 The Drove
BN9 0LA Newhaven