Self-checkout counters are popular around the world and now they are coming to Southeast Asia.
Self-checkout counters are a common sight in Europe and Australia. The NCR Corporation sees a steady increase of these counters: From 191,000 in 2013 to 325,000 by 2019. They are used extensively in supermarkets, hypermarkets, convenience stores and home improvement stores.
In Southeast Asia however, implementation has been low so far. The time is right for that to change, particularly since many of the early hesitations surrounding self-checkouts are no longer valid.
One hesitation has been that shoppers don’t like them, but shoppers’ behaviours and preferences have changed over the years. More shoppers want self-service these days. They appreciate the independence that a self-checkout offers them.
Studies show that shoppers particularly prefer self-checkouts when they have smaller shopping baskets. A survey done by a hypermarket in Australia found 90% of shoppers aged 18-39 found self-service checkouts easy to use. That number was slightly lower in the 60+ age bracket. There, 50% found self-checkouts easy to use.
Other concerns have been problems with selling age-restricted goods and complicated processes with goods that must be weighted. But today’s self-checkout technology solves those problems as well.
Making self-checkouts work
Personalisation and easy-to use interface is key for making self-checkouts a success, says Roine Gabrielsson StrongPoint SVP and Managing Director for APAC
A StrongPoint study in Europe found that the user interface makes all the difference for shoppers. The icons need to be clear and the navigation must be intuitive.
Since self-checkouts are new for Southeast Asia retailers and shoppers, training of staff and coaching of customers are necessary. Self-checkouts are not a replacement for human interactions, Gabrielsson noted. But because self-checkouts are new, they also come with a “wow factor” that opens for new opportunities for personal interaction in the store.
StrongPoint’s self-checkout system has a weighting algorithm that enables the system to “learn” and “recognise” items in a way that makes shopping for those items much easier. This technology also helps prevent theft.
The software can display the top 10 items that people tend to buy, giving opportunity for retailers to upsell or” remind” customers to buy these items. The software can be tailored to recognise loyalty cards and provide “soft promotions”, something that further enhances the personalisation abilities of the system.
Retailers with existing self-checkout hardware can use the StrongPoint self-checkout software since it can be integrated with the hardware and the POS system.
“We are excited to be able to bring the opportunities of self-checkouts to retailers and shoppers here.”Gabrielsson.