April 04, 2010

Self-checkout continues to expand

While some deployments haven’t been the most customer friendly, and not everyone loves self-checkout, industry watchers expect deeper adoption and expanded technology use as businesses move forward on projects this year — all while concerns about job displacement fail to take root.

When it comes to using self-service kiosks, whether it’s self-checkout at the supermarket or choosing a movie from a DVD station, there is still diverse and passionate public opinion about their value.

Just take a quick gander at feedback at Consumerist.com to get an idea on how varied public response is regarding self-service technology despite the fact it’s hardly new stuff.

Consumers who like full-service claim that it's more trouble free, offers up better quality of service and is more reliable. Many users say they embrace it for quick purchases, love the speedier transaction capability and some even enjoy the lack of human interaction.

While psychologists may have a field day with that latter feedback, greater efficiency, having control and the ability to verify item pricing are top benefits cited in the Consumerist’s informal poll about self-service.

Speed, convenience and fun were the top three benefits cited by consumers in the 2009 Self-Service Consumer Survey, published by SelfServiceWorld.com, and the survey indicates satisfaction levels are increasing as the technology continues to improve.

Yet not everyone’s enthralled about being put to work in the shopping environment. Many like the idea of a cashier to help with coupon issues and the tedious bagging process, and some worry the technology could put the retail cashier occupation out to pasture.

As Consumer Reports blogger Anthony Giorgianni wrote in a recent post, “self-checkout scanners at supermarkets, home improvement stores and elsewhere have just made paying for your merchandise more frustrating.”

While admitting he may be reviled as a Luddite, he predicts stores soon will eliminate cashiers “and we’ll have row after row of miffed shoppers in constant battle with machines, mechanical versions of Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi, proclaiming, ‘No produce for you!’”

But industry watchers believe the scale will continue to dip in favor of self-service....
Read rest of article at KioskMarketplace

Posted by staff at April 4, 2010 11:23 AM