So what exactly affects a customer’s self-service satisfaction? It comes down to a handful of important touchpoints in the experience. And retailers need to understand these aspects of the consumer’s journey through their self-checkouts to adequately solve them.
Disorderly queues. Self-checkout (SCO) queues can become disordered and congested. Overcrowding and other chaotic factors make wait times longer (and there’s nothing shoppers hate more than waiting in line.) So, what’s causing the chaos? A few things like broken-down tills creating longer queues, shoppers who have a lot of items taking more time at the till, a lack of clear signage that show where queues should line up are some of the common causes.
The less organized the self-checkout queue, the more negative the customer impact. And this disorder can lead to frustrated customers and shoppers abandoning their purchases.
Navigation difficulties. Customers should be able to easily understand which tills are open and operating. Some common frustrating experiences include shoppers ending up at a card only self-checkout when they intended to pay with cash, getting to what they thought was an available self-checkout only to realize it is out of order and then having to wait for the next available till in the middle of the self-checkout area. If associates are busy or unavailable to provide adequate direction, customers are left to interpret the dynamics of the SCO corral on their own—which isn’t always the best experience.
Physical SCO area design and layout. A “grab & go” shopper has different expectations of a self-checkout experience compared to shoppers with large baskets. Often times the SCO area layout doesn’t take into consideration these shopper expectations—an example being a “grab & go” shopper having to wait too long behind large basket shoppers, as there are no separate queues for small basket shoppers. For most customers, self-checkout means more control and faster checkout. A poor SCO layout, that does not deliver on that expectation, can discourage customers from using your self-checkout area.
Related: Tips to design the most effective self-checkout zone.
The physical layout of your SCO area doesn’t just affect shoppers—it affects your employees, too, like the SCO hosts who manage and monitor your SCO lanes. The visibility to intervene in a crowded self-checkout area can be hampered—and responding to them quickly is a top challenge for self-checkout associates.
Inefficient SCO procedures. Scanning issues and interventions are the most frustrating aspects of checkout for shoppers. And it’s demanding on your associates, too. Customers don’t want to wait. If associates don’t have a quick and efficient way to resolve scanning issues and interventions, it would count as a definite bad experience for shoppers. What makes the situation even worse is when associates have to multitask across surveillance and customer service, especially for long periods of time—it gets hard to be a “great host.”