Consumers Want Workers Redeployed to Improve Service

Oct 08, 2004

By George Anderson

An IDC white paper, Self-Checkout Systems: Creating Value Across the Retail Store, says self-checkouts are freeing up store employees to fill valuable customer-service roles in other parts of the store.

The report, sponsored by NCR, a supplier of self-checkout and POS systems (and also a RetailWire sponsor), found consumers had their own ideas about how employees could be used to improve the shopping experience. Seventy-seven percent said employees could be used to clean and tidy-up the store, 76 percent wanted shelves to be stocked and 70 percent wanted employees available to find products and answer questions.

Meredith Whalen, group vice president IDC U.S. Vertical Market Research, said in a prepared statement, “When retailers redeploy checkout resources to improve customer service beyond the front end to other areas of the store, it provides a point of differentiation.”

Consumer acceptance of self-checkouts has implications for retailers in other parts of the store, as well, she said.

“Given consumers’ positive attitudes toward self-checkout, we expect retailers to deploy more self-service technologies, such as kiosks.”

IDC’s research found consumers were most interested in kiosks that allow them to check the price of items and pre-order from the deli.

Moderator’s Comments: How can stores more effectively communicate the benefits of self-checkouts to shoppers? Are self-checkouts and other self-service
technologies freeing up employees to attend to other customer service needs?

If tidier stores with more fully stocked shelves are the two most important improvements consumers are looking for in stores using self-checkouts, then
our experience tells us managers are not using freed up employees to take care of these tasks.

George Anderson – Moderator

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