October 17, 2006

Reports Differ on Self-Checkout Value

A report due out Oct. 17 from the IHL Consulting Group sees grocers aggressively moving to upgrade to self-checkout systems, even before they replace or upgrade the aging point-of-sale systems they are based on. But another retail technology report—released Oct. 16 by the Aberdeen Group—has a very different self-checkout take, calling retail self-checkout "an absolute failure."

The reports on their own do not directly contradict each other, in that the IHL report simply says a lot of retailers will move to self-checkout, and the Aberdeen report doesn't dispute the intended purchases but merely the wisdom of them.

The Aberdeen report author, retail research analyst Sahir Anand, wrote that self-checkout systems have frustrated and angered customers and not helped retailers.

"Self-checkout systems have not significantly improved the customer experience. These systems have met several operational and store navigation roadblocks such as lack of a strong customer interface, inflexible store formats and frustrating self-scan and bag procedures," the report said. "Customers have never found self check-out convenient or time-saving. As the customers' share of wallet has diverted towards easier and more intuitive web channels, the lackluster performance of self-check out has created further POS challenges for retailers."

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Posted by staff at October 17, 2006 11:19 AM