Are Shoppers Really That Resistant to Self-Checkout?
May 17, 2018
Are shoppers really that resistant to self-checkout (scanning and bagging their own goods)?
Yep, they are and just because the technology exists we should all change our buying/shopping habits. The arrogance of the industry just amazes me sometimes. We have a solution, whether you need it or not; and, we're going to jam it down your throats, whether you want it or not. Let's be honest, it benefits the retailer more than it benefits the customer. And, it only benefits the customer because the option is less not more service in the form of humans, which means more standing around and waiting.
Expanding Use of Self-Checkout, But Rejected By Most
I see it every day, and in stores including Target which has expanded their self-checkout area by as much as 50% in some stores that this is the direction they want consumers to go. Try finding a cashier or cashiers in Target during busy hours. The lines have to be 5 to 10 deep, before a manager reacts and brings out more staff. But, the vast majority of people will still go to a cashier, I among them, unless I have very few items and am a major league hurry to be someplace. Some stores not only have cashiers, but baggers too and they will even carry your bags out to the car. My god, real service. And, guess what their prices aren't all that much more than Target's, Walmart's or other grocery stores.
People, thank you very much, have limits in terms of how much they will participate in this forced self-service economy where the goal is to replace people, those nasty animals, with nice clean expensive technology that you can capitalize and depreciate over time.
Walmart dropped their (self-checkout) and my guess is that they don't have enough bleeding edge Ms or Zs as customers who are too busy to wait in line and prefer to interact with technology before doing so with humans. "Walmart pulls the plug on self-checkout...", (click to read article).
From a Forbes article (click to read article):
Apparently, the technology didn't work for Walmart's customers. "It took Walmart almost a year to figure out what the rest of us already know: you can't convince customers to do the job of a cashier just because you don't want to pay for the work, especially when eliminating cashiers doesn't result in more convenient shopping," says Making Change at Walmart (MCAW) director, Randy Parraz.
Looking at the Target customer profile, while standing in the stores, you see a lot more Ms most of whom are attached at the hip to their smartphones and that includes as they are checking out. Gotta use that digital coupon. But I would say that Target is the exception rather than the rule.
No one goes to a department store expecting to act as their own cashier including Generations M and Z.
This article is only talking about smartphone users and it doesn't include non users or sometimes users. So we don't know what they think, but only 57% say they will always or usually go to self checkouts. My guess is it's a lot lower among the non-connected 24/7 crowd (click to read article).
The funny thing is that we've been forcibly backed into this "self-service-first economy" as business after business finds ways to eliminate humans as a cost factor. And, because few of us like standing around in line for more than 5 minutes, we and only some of us, opt for the self-service isle. The funny thing is that when surveyed people want to see more and better trained sales staff in stores, rather than fewer (click to read article). The catch-22 is that those same consumers don't want to pay for it. Maybe if we cut executive payrolls, we could have a few more people on the selling floor. I'm not holding my breath.
Like everything else involved with marketing, you should test how far you can take customer self-service. Walmart tested it and found that it didn't meet their customers' expectations or better serve their needs.
Read more about this issue and the results of recent surveys:
Dudley Stevenson, founder and CEO of DWS Associates, has over thirty-five years’ experience in consumer marketing, business-to-business marketing, and direct marketing, including developing, planning, and implementing go-to-market strategies. He's also the author of "Marketing Direct: Breaking Through The Clutter." Working with organizations ranging from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies, he and his team have helped clients such as IBM, Sony, Neiman Marcus, Arizona Highways, Marshall Field & Co., Mrs. Field’s, UNICEF, and Patagonia implement successful direct marketing programs. A longtime member of the Direct Marketing Association and the American Marketing Association, Stevenson is also a sought-after speaker. He’s given hundreds of presentations and workshops on marketing and direct marketing. His “Marketing Planning 101” workshop alone has reached more than 100,000 marketing and sales professionals.