The last few months have been difficult. The situation has forced us to adapt to new conditions, including commercial ones. Are self-checkouts the answer to new customer expectations? Are they safe and what does the customer actually want now?
The post-pandemic client. What has changed?
As we remember, in the beginning, the order to limit going out caused fear and panic. We rushed to the shops and stocked up on large quantities of goods, especially those with a long shelf life. Some products began to be in short supply. At that time, retail chains saw record profits. Internet shops triumphed. Online shopping seemed to be the best solution in this situation as it ensured that there was absolutely no contact with another person. Unfortunately, online shops, especially those supplying food, were also taken aback by the sudden surge in customers and lead times were significantly extended. Like it or not, armed with masks and gloves, we had to return to stationary shops.
We started to wash and disinfect our hands more often, to pay attention to hygiene. We are not the only ones. Shopkeepers have also established procedures to make shopping as safe as possible, minimising the risk of infection. In the meantime, the strict restrictions have been lifted, with only the obligation to wear a mask remaining. But something has changed in the public mind. For the better. Good habits will stay with us for a long time. Richer in knowledge and experience, customers pay attention not only to the choice of goods and attractive prices. They expect shopping to be safe and, in fact, hygienic. Retailers face another challenge – safe self-checkouts.
I have written about the fact that Poles are eager to use self-service devices here. Manufacturers of self-checkouts meet the expectations of customers. These devices have been present on the market for some time, but until now mainly large sales chains decided to use them. In order to shorten the time of waiting at the cash desk, shops probably did not even think how futuristic solution they introduced. Currently, many companies offer self-checkouts dedicated to smaller shops. I am convinced that in the nearest future, these cash registers will also appear in these shops. Why?
Because when finalising a purchase at a self-checkout;
- the customer has no contact with the cashier
- the purchased goods are only touched by the customer
- the set-up of self-checkouts forces a distance between customers
- moreover, some manufacturers offer devices that allow the customer to take care of his/her own safety directly.
As a rule, life or business changes are preceded by a deeper analysis of the situation, a plan and expectations. Now we have been put up against a wall, whether we want to or not, we have to adapt. Forced changes, although often very stressful, do not always have to be a bad thing, on the contrary they can bring a lot of good. The situation has drawn our attention to hygiene issues, and these are not only important in the context of the current epidemic, it should be remembered that there are many diseases that can be contracted through contact with other people. Hypermarkets, supermarkets and even small shops promote contact with other people and therefore the risk of infection. Fortunately, stationary shops can rest assured, customers still value the possibility of self-selection and quick access to goods, they have just raised the bar.