July 26, 2011

The only end in sight for self-checkout is 'the end of the beginning'

Nice feature on KMC on the strength of the self-check-out market (albeit matured). Quotes from NCR and Wincor (nothing from Fujitsu ironically).

The only end in sight for self-checkout is 'the end of the beginning' | kioskmarketplace.com

In the wake of the news that Albertsons LLC is pulling self-checkout from its 217 Albertsons stores and that Kroger is trialing a self-checkout-less store, news stories cropped up across the Internet about "the trend" of pulling self-checkout from grocery stores.

Setting aside the issue of whether or not one or two occurrences of anything can properly be called a trend, two of the top players in the self-checkout business say nothing could be further from the truth.

Both Wincor Nixdorf and NCR Corp. reacted to the idea that self-checkout might be in trouble with what might almost be described as amusement.

"Far from being at the end, we're at the end of the beginning, and the opportunity for retail automation is healthier than it's ever been," said Doug Wallace, vice president of Wincor Nixdorf's Retail Division, in a recent interview.

Wallace pointed to a study from late last year saying that 2010 would see consumers spend $740 billion through self-service or self-checkout technologies in North America, and said Wincor Nixdorf isn't seeing any signs that it's slowing — despite the news from Albertsons and Kroger.

NCR Retail spokesman Cameron Smith echoed those sentiments, saying that analysts continue to predict strong growth in the sector and that NCR's own research confirms that idea.

"We certainly don't see any slowdown in interest from retailers," he said. "We continue to have great conversations with retailers around the world with regards to self-checkout and we're continuing to expand it in new markets frequently"

Smith also pointed out that Supervalu, which owns and operates nearly 500 Albertsons stores in western states, was quick to issue an announcement hot on the heels of the Albertsons LLC news that the Supervalu stores would be keeping their self-checkout lanes.

And a recent story on MSNBC.com said "self-checkout suppliers raked in $524.1 million worldwide in 2010, a 46 percent increase from 2007, according to technology research firm VDC Research Group, which projects growth of 84 percent over the next five years. As technology improves, self-checkout likely will migrate into store aisles as customers armed with smart phones use new apps to scan and pay for items on the spot."

Wincor Nixdorf sees four main drivers for continued adoption of self-service and self-checkout in retail, Wallace said: increased consumer choice, increased ease of use for consumers, speedier checkout times for consumer, and increased convenience for consumers.

And Wallace pointed to three macro trends he sees driving the market's continued growth globally

rest of story

Posted by staff at July 26, 2011 02:38 PM