Shoppers Checking Out on Impulse Items
Self-checkout systems have a number of benefits. Retailers appreciate being able to reduce labor costs or free up people to work in other areas of the store. Some consumers simply
prefer going through the checkout on their own.
A new study from IHL Consulting Group, however, suggests there may be at least one drawback to operating self-checkouts. It appears as though consumers who check themselves out
spend much less on impulse items, such as gum/mints, candy, beverages, magazines and other products typically found at the front-end.
Consumers using self-checkouts purchase impulse items 45.4 percent less on average than shoppers who use lanes manned by cashiers. Women at self-checkouts are even less likely
to purchase impulse items (50 percent less) than men (27.9 percent less).
Greg Buzek, founder and president of IHL Consulting said in a company press release, “Retailers are being forced to re-think their merchandising at the front-end as they deploy
self-checkout systems. The impulse displays have not caught up to this new technology. By definition these are impulse items — thus they must engage the senses. Retailers such
as Meijer and Kroger have adjusted by offering items such as rotisserie chickens and fresh baked breads to rely more on the sense of smell to drive sales rather than simply visuals
when trapped in a staffed lane.”
Finding new means to drive impulse sales at the front-end will become more critical as stores continue to rollout more self-checkout systems and consumers become more willing
to use them.
According to IHL, consumers spent over $110.9 billion on self-checkout transactions in 2005. That number was 35 percent than the year before.
Eighteen percent of self-checkout consumers say they use the lanes “all the time” and 29 percent say they use it when there is a line at checkouts with cashiers.
Discussion Question: How can retailers address the front-end sales challenges posed by consumers’ use of self-checkout systems?
- Self-Checkout Drops Sales
of Impulse Items by More Than 45 Percent, Says New Study from IHL Consulting Group – IHL Consulting Group/Business Wire