Consumers Sour On Self-Service Checkout

By Pete Rizzo (@pete_rizzo_)  

“Long shopping queues could soon be a thing of the past as supermarkets and retail stores install time-saving technologies that will dramatically improve the retail experience for customers.”

Published by CIO Magazine in 2003, this statement illustrates the high expectations that were placed on self-service checkout. The then new technology that was intended to reduce queue wait times and was predicted by many to usher in a new era of customer satisfaction.

Flash forward to 2013 and the results are anything but what was expected. A new survey from hospitality product provider Tensator has revealed that 33 percent of retail shoppers have chosen not to complete a purchase because of a bad experience with a self-service kiosk.

“This survey highlights a number of areas for attention,” Alan McPherson, CEO of Tensator Group, said in an October 14 statement. “Firstly, if such a high number of shoppers need help when using self-service tills, retailers need to be looking at the technology they use and the way it’s being presented to the consumer. If so many people need help, its not self-service.”

The study polled nearly 400 shoppers and further revealed that 84 percent admitted that they have sought assistance from a store employee due to difficulties experienced when using a self-service checkout at a retail store.

For more on the findings and what they may mean for retailers, we break down the findings of Tensator’s latest study in this PYMNTS.com Data Point.

Self-Service Kiosks Plagued By Technical Issues

Despite the high-tech nature of self-service kiosks, Tensator found that many consumers have experienced technically difficulties that have contributed to their negative view of the service. Forty percent of study respondents said technical glitches were the most annoying aspect of self-service kiosks.

Due in part to such difficulties, more than 50 percent of respondents said that they believe manned checkouts are faster than self-service kiosks.

Self-Service Lines Lead To Confusion, Unrest

Tensator went on to reveal that many consumers struggle to interact with self-service kiosks, even when they are fully operational. More than 50 percent of survey takers said they have struggled to find where self-service lines begin.

Worse still, the data suggested those who find the line aren’t exactly pleased with their experience. Twenty-six percent of shoppers reported that they use their time in line to think about how their shopping experience could be improved.

For more on one potential solution to this issue, mobile point of sale (mPOS), read our latest report on the industry here.  

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