Self-checkout kiosks, a type of specialized self-service kiosk that is built specifically to be able to scan items and process payments, have become more widely adopted over the past decade as the technology has continued to improve. These kiosks provide customers with convenience and businesses with an effective way to increase efficiency as well as enhance their customers’ experience with their store or brand. Today we will look at the benefits of these kiosks in order to better understand why they are a valuable asset for so many companies.
A self-checkout kiosk is a type of computer, usually outfitted with a touchscreen display, that allows a user to purchase goods and services without the assistance of a staff member. The advantage of self-checkout kiosks is that they allow consumers to purchase goods on their own terms without having to wait for an employee to be free to help. Studies say that 66% of consumers prefer self-service options over interacting with store employees. Making self-service technology available for those customers who prefer it helps encourage repeat business as it keeps these consumers comfortable and happy as they shop.
Self-checkout kiosks are quickly becoming an important part of many different businesses, not just self-checkout, due to the many benefits they bring, from increasing average order tickets and decreasing overhead, to helping to keep social distancing requirements in place during COVID-19, all of which will be explored in more detail below.
Self-checkout grocery store kiosks were one of the first widely-adopted types of self-service kiosks, and have become essential to grocers around the world. Grocery stores see huge swings in the amount of foot traffic throughout the course of the day, within the course of the week, or around certain holidays.
These peak busy times necessitate staffing accordingly. However, most of these peak times last no more than 1-2 hours, which makes staffing around them nearly impossible to do efficiently. Self-checkout kiosks allow overflow check-out traffic to be automated, keeping stores from having too many staff on-hand past peak times, or requiring customers to wait in long, frustrating lines due to a lack of available staff to assist them.
Self-checkout kiosks have become common at many retail stores, especially “big box” retailers like Target and Walmart, which can greatly expedite the checkout process. Retailers use these kiosks to let shoppers purchase goods on their own, allowing the stores to handle high-traffic times of day without creating long lines and, consequently, irritated customers who would prefer not to spend their busy day waiting to pay for their orders.
Similar to both retail and grocery outlets, food service establishments employ self-checkout kiosks to ensure that customers receive their food in a timely manner. Quick service restaurants (QSRs) such as McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and Wendy’s utilize self-service kiosks to allow their guests to order food without feeling rushed, and without the need for staff assistance. Alternatively, customers who are in a rush can quickly order food and have their order ready quickly without having to wait in a long line.
One of the primary benefits of self-service kiosks is decreased overhead costs. Rather than needing to staff up checkout lines for full 4-8 hour shifts just to cover a single 1-2 hour busy period, one staff member can instead oversee 4-6 self-checkout kiosks and assist customers when the need arises. This ultimately means less time and money spent hiring and training multiple cashiers, and then paying them for long shifts with only a few active hours.
Self-service kiosks allow staff to be more productive as they can be placed in areas that keep them continuously busy working directly to improve the customers’ experience as needed. This is an investment in both keeping customers happy, and giving employees more interesting, satisfying work.
Self-service kiosks give customers a more efficient means of checkout, helping to ensure that the average wait times remain low. This is especially important given the social distancing constraints required during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as future cold and flu seasons, to ensure customers aren’t left to wait indoors for long periods of time. The more expedient checkout process made possible with self-service kiosks is also helpful as it allows customers to purchase their goods with fewer close, personal interactions which helps ensure everyone’s safety.
Besides safety, kiosks can be more convenient for customers, especially those who only need to purchase a small number of items, as they have the choice to checkout with a cashier or do it themselves at the kiosk if lines are long and other customers have large carts to process. This serves to reduce customers’ frustration with long lines and makes it less likely they will leave without making any purchase at all.
Floor space is at a premium in most stores and well designed checkout kiosks offer small footprints. Self-service kiosks are smaller in size compared to traditional checkout counters, allowing stores to fit more checkout stations into a smaller space. This frees up more room to showcase products, which helps boost sales at the front of the store, where foot traffic is often at its highest and where the productivity of the space is often the most profitable.
Self-service kiosks are an essential asset to any shopping experience, lowering overhead costs, increasing revenue and productivity, and enhancing the customer experience.
REDYREF is a leader in restaurant kiosk development and manufacturing. As one of the most trusted names in the industry, they provide flexible kiosk solutions to fit their customers’ needs. REDYREF manufactures its kiosks with an emphasis on quality and longevity, meaning less required maintenance and a better long-term ROI for customers’ kiosk investments.