Labor Shortage? Consider Self-Checkout
It’s 2022--Retailers have recognized the value of self-checkout technology and the benefits it will bring to their stores including easing labor shortage problems, improving the customer experience, and, of course, increasing the bottom line. Now you need to consider how to deploy your self-checkout to best suit the needs of your stores and your customers; the big question is—do you automate cash, or go completely cashless?
You may be leaning toward cashless—it’s less costly upfront, and card payments seem more like “the future.” Let’s examine that assumption—can you get the full ROI you expect from your self-checkout without adding cash? First consider from the perspective of the speed of service; self-checkout will move your customers through the line faster and eliminate long lines at peak times of day. If you’ve only automated cashless payments you haven’t solved the complete problem, and will not be able to repurpose cashiers to take on additional store related tasks, like cleaning, stocking shelves, etc. Stores that struggle with staff shortages will find relief by allowing their customers to checkout without their assistance, ensuring only one cashier is required to ring up age-verified products.
Next, think about your customer’s experience. For the average purchase in convenience stores, consumers overwhelmingly choose cash; 47% of all purchase values under $25 are paid in cash. The percentage of cash usage in your stores may be even higher given that the average c-store transaction is between $3.75-9.00; recent studies report around 40-50% of purchases are made in cash. In addition to preferences, the Federal Reserve estimates 20-28% of the population is currently “unbanked,” or “underbanked,” and do not have access to card payments. Cashless only self-checkouts could lead customers to perceive unfairness—why should they wait in line while the card paying customer can breeze right through? It’s not worth the risk alienating such a large portion of your customers.
Card-only self-checkouts will still require a cashier to handle all cash payments, increasing the likelihood that lines will continue to be long at rush hour, and risk customers walking out without purchasing. 41% of customers will abandon their purchase if they see a long line, and one bad experience can sour customers on your entire business. Almost half of consumers avoid a specific store if they have to wait longer than 5 minutes. No one wants to lose business due to customer dissatisfaction, and these lines can be effectively eliminated by deploying cash automation with self-checkout.
Lastly, cashless processing isn’t always as cheap as it seems to be. There’s a good chance cash payments cost less as a percentage of your revenue than cashless. Driving customers to cashless may actually increase costs and negatively impact profit margins.
In order to fully reap the benefits of your self-checkout deployment you need to include both cash and cashless payments. Cash automation makes it a well-rounded solution and delivers a superior ROI for your business.