Self-scanning and self-checkout: glimpse into the future of smart retailing

MANUEL ENRICO
19/03/2020
In brief
Large retailing chains focus their future on a radical integration of the different aspects of retail, encouraging, for instance, the interaction between apparently very different systems as, in fact, self-scanning, self-checkout and fidelity. And the interaction with the customer’s smartphone is the natural consequence of that.
Manuel Enrico is a specialist in help desk services at Tecno Logica, part of Retex Group.

In the constantly evolving interaction between customer and store, increasingly inspired by the customer experience’s autonomy, a key role is played by Scan to Go, successor of self-scanning and self-checkout, and a constantly growing feature in the daily life of retail. The availability of new technologies and an increasing end users’ awareness towards a personalised shopping experience have pushed large retailing chains  to greater investments in the Scan to Go technology.

SELF-SCANNING: INDEPENDENCE AND AWARENESS IN THE SHOPPING JOURNEY

Since its appearance in the Netherlands in 1993, this practice has found broad acceptance. Initially created to speed up operations at the checkout counter, self-scanning represents a first step on the road towards the customer’s autonomy in the store, allowing the use of pods − linked to the use of the loyalty card − for scanning the products purchased. Through self-scanning, the user can autonomously live the shopping experience, with all the advantages of new digital technologies that enhance its quality.

SELF-CHECKOUT: PRACTICALITY AND SPEED FOR RETAIL CUSTOMERS

The need to speed up the checkout process has led to the integration of the self-scanning technology into self-checkouts, allowing to create dedicated lanes for a speedier, automated shopping process with fewer cashiers and baggers on duty. Above all, the speed with which customers can checkout results in greater service satisfaction, a more enjoyable shopping journey and increased loyalty rate.

SCAN TO GO: RETAIL BECOMES SMART

Scan to Go is the result of the synergy between self-scanning and self-checkout, and its advantages are shared by both customer and retailer. The customer, in fact, can interact with the store in a totally free and personalised way. The integration of different systems linked to self-scanning, from electronic labels to smart shelves, allows the customer to experience a highly personalised shopping journey.

For the retailer, self-scanning and self-checkouts are two strategic instruments for greater customer loyalty. Large retailing chains focus their future on a radical integration of the different aspects of retail, encouraging, for instance, the interaction between apparently very different systems as, in fact, self-scanning, self-checkout and fidelity. The synergy between these elements can promote the development of proximity marketing, becoming itself a kind of guide for the customer’s shopping journey, reflecting his needs and preferences. To this end, it is obviously required a high level of correspondence between the various data, with cross-analysis in short times and capable of dynamically adapting.

SELF-SCANNING AND SELF-CHECKOUT − RETAIL IN THE DIGITAL AGE

The potential of the self-scanning and self-checkout technologies is promising. The diffusion of smartphones and related digital interaction features are essential for the Scan to Go future, and more in general, of the customer experience.

The introduction of apps such as barcodes and Qrcodes readers and payments through digital wallet services are factors for the further evolution of self-checkouts, replacing the store’s proprietary devices. The digitalisation done directly by the customer becomes therefore a resource for the retailer.

Despite the customer’s habit of interacting with staff, Scan to Go will become the future of the shopping journey. Consumers are progressively reducing the digital gap even in older age groups who show good interaction with apps and smart interaction concepts.

HOW RETAIL CHANGES WITH SCAN TO GO

The impact of self-scanning and self-checkouts on the overall customer experience offers significant advantages to both the customer and store. Scan to Go means

For the customer:

–          Time saving

–          Complete control of his shopping cart, from price to details (such as nutritional values, etc.)

–          Shopping cart update, with direct control of the total amount being spent

–          Elimination of the queue found at normal checkout counters

–          Couponing based on the own shopping habits and consumption

–          Availability of dedicated checkout counters

For the retailer:

–          Staff reduction at checkout counters and consequent optimisation in other activities (keeping shelves stocked, customer care)

–          Better detection of consumer habits and preferences, expanded proximity marketing opportunities and targeted couponing

–          Integration of new technologies into the customer experience

–          Integration with e-commerce, in omnichannel logic

–          Improvement of the store productivity with resultant lower investment impact on the Scan to Go technology

 

SELF-SCANNING AND SELF-CHECKOUT: PRESENT AND FUTURE IN THE RETAIL WORLD

The potential of self-scanning and self-checkout technologies has already been exploited by large retailing chains, for which an advanced customer experience is taking central stage. Examples of this are digital payments (from contact-less cards to systems such as Google Pay or Apple Pay), which are a sign of the new digital relationship between distributor and customer in a new form of personalised engagement.

For the sector’s leading brands these developments are essential. The new customer/store interaction must be accompanied by a better analysis of the data collected in the different channels. The synthesis of this information, from the users’ preferences recorded in the self-scanning phase to the comparison of fidelity data, is the basis of the evolution itself, in which Scan to Go will be fundamental. This stands both for the increasing technological awareness of the target and the potential for advanced business for retailers.

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