Study: Self-Checkout Curtails Impulse Buys
By Tom Ryan
According to a study from IHL Consulting Group, impulse purchases among women drop 32.1 percent and men 16.7 percent when self-checkout is used instead of a staffed checkout.
The primary reason for the drop, according to the study, is that self-checkout devices are not as merchandised as staffed lanes in most retailers. Additionally, there is usually a shorter line at each unit, removing the captive audience with the tempting impulse items in front of them.
The findings were part of IHL’s North American Retail Self-Checkout Systems Market Study, which found that consumers spent more than $137 billion in retail self-checkout in 2006, a 24 percent increase over the prior year. The gains were mostly driven by expanded self-checkout use in DIY stores, supercenters and warehouse clubs.
Not surprisingly, the study, which included surveys of 1,000 consumers conducted in the spring and summer of this year, found that acceptance of the devices increases sharply as consumers use the machines more.
“The more retailers can provide an incentive for people to use self-checkout to get past this hump, the more their checkouts can be converted to self-checkout,” the report said.
Other findings in the study:
- A positive view of self-checkout technology is formed over a rather short
period of time. Of those who have used self-checkout at least six times,
86 percent have a positive view of the technology;
- Consumers earning more
than $100,000 a year are slightly more inclined to self-checkout. The report
theorizes that higher-income consumers travel more and are therefore exposed
to self-ticketing kiosks at train stations and airports;
- Consumers in the
South are the most positive about self-checkout, with 75 percent having a
positive view about the technology;
- Sixteen percent of the sample said they
would be more likely to use self-checkout if they could pick the voice of
a person to guide them through it. Most popular voices: Tom Brokaw or Walter
Cronkite, (picked by 21 percent); Don LaFontaine, the movie trailer guy,
(13 percent); and Darth Vader, (12 percent).
Discussion Question: Are self-checkouts a threat to high-margin impulse buys?
If so, what, if anything, should retailers do about recapturing impulse buys
at self-checkout stations?
- Report: Self-Checkout Usage Soared 24 Percent Last
Year – eweek
- Women could lose 4.1 lbs simply by avoiding impulse items at the checkout – ihlservices.com
- North American Retail Self-Checkout Systems Market Study – (Purchase Required) – ihlservices.com