Most people are visual. Mostly sight is the dominant sense in the perception of the world. On the internet and especially in social media, videos, graphics, infographics, etc. are the most popular. In real life, we all like aesthetically pleasing spaces. On the street we look for attractive girls or boys :-). Is a self-checkout that fits into this trend what retailers should be looking for?

Beautiful self-checkout.

Tastes are not to be discussed. It is not what is pretty that is pretty, but what you like. However, there is no denying the fact that appearance does matter. Aesthetic self-checkouts attract customers eyes and can be a visually attractive element of shop equipment. Recently I have noticed a rash of manufacturers on the market, who have introduced self-checkouts to their offer.

In theory, creating a self-service station does not seem difficult. A touch screen monitor, a scanner, a payment terminal, a fiscal printer and optionally scales. All this in a nice design. And that’s it. From the outside. For a self-service cash register to work, you still need software. Cash register can be the most beautiful, make customers will not be able to resist its charm, but if it works badly, no one will want to use it.

Even the most beautiful self-checkout will not make the customer use it.
Even the most beautiful self-checkout will not make the customer use it.

What does a malfunctioning self-checkout mean?

Apart from the failure rate of cash registers and the speed of response to failure, the factor that makes a self-service cash register malfunction is its software. Companies that are manufacturers of POS systems and have years of experience in their implementation often offer slightly modified software for self-service checkouts, which worked well with traditional cash registers. And this is a mistake which may cause that the customers will not use self-service checkouts. Why? Because they will be too difficult for an incidental customer who, for example, came to the shop for the first time and is likely to become a regular customer.

The POS software has been developed with the shop employees in mind. They are the ones who use it on a daily basis, have been trained and are able to navigate it efficiently. Employees have completely different needs than customers. Such software is not suitable for use at self-service checkouts. Good self-service checkout software is an “overlay” that integrates with existing POS software. An overlay that is designed with the customer in mind from the start. It makes the self-checkout intuitive and easy to use.

How does the right self-checkout software affect business?

I have repeatedly said that the most important element of effective implementation of self-checkouts is choosing a good supplier. An experienced supplier knows that a self-service checkout is not a piece of furniture and is not only supposed to look nice, but, above all, it is an element of business transformation. A self-checkout with the right software enables you to:

  • minimising theft through the use of various types of control mechanisms, e.g. control scales comparing the weight of the product with the weight in the database, a camera comparing the scanned product with the image database, etc,
  • limiting unnecessary interventions – ultimately, the only intervention from a shop employee should be acceptance of age (until age verification software is legalised in Poland, for example, this)
  • non-invasive, discreet promotion of products,
  • automation of sales of tobacco, premium products, condoms, etc. read more Vensafe
  • payment processing when using self-scanning technology
  • remote monitoring which enables remote support of self-service checkouts and analysis of sales data.

My recent experience shows that the right self-scanning practices can help any retail chain that is just introducing self-checkouts to maximise their return on investment. However, in addition to choosing self-checkouts and implementing them efficiently, long-term post-implementation support is very important. Just because a self-checkouts has been successfully implemented and customers are using it, it does not mean that this will always be the case. Experience shows that even the smallest factor has an impact on the effectiveness of SCO. Undoubtedly, the software dedicated to self-checkouts, and in fact to customers, is a powerful tool that allows you to properly handle and analyse the business.

I have already written how to choose a self-service cash register here and how to implement it here.