You may be wondering how to improve self-checkout screens at your SCO kiosks. With concerns about health and welfare in a pandemic, your customers might be uncomfortable with touching screens that other shoppers have used. It can be difficult to safely clean your kiosks and disinfecting both the payment terminal and screen between each use may not be an option for your store. Thankfully, there are still ways to help customers check out using touchscreen kiosks while being conscious of coronavirus precautions.
First, think of the kind of prompting that requires customers to physically interact with SCO payment systems. When first walking up to the kiosk, your customer might be required to press a button in order to start the transaction process. A good alternative to this step is to simply have the customer scan the barcode of their first item in order to initiate checkout. Your customer can then scan the rest of their items, and pay either with their EMV-enabled card or mobile phone.
Alternatively, if your customer is paying with cash, you can encourage them to insert their cash and coins immediately after scanning all of their items, rather than touching the ‘pay’ button on screen. This is a great option for your customers who still use cash as their main form of payment, while still limiting the amount of physical interaction they have with their payment systems.
This is not the limit of your contact-free options. Contact-free payment technology now allows for the disabling of the signature and receipt screens. Thanks to advances in card and payment security, customers no longer have to sign to certify their payments, which is good news for your payment systems. Additionally, you can have self-checkout kiosks automatically produce physical or digital receipts without any physical contact with the customer.
So what about mobile payment systems? We’ve come a long way in this area, and there are more than enough options for your customer to use their mobile phone to check out at your convenience store. The benefits for mobile checkout are clear – most customers keep their cellphones on them at all times, and with new technology allowing us to store our card and bank information on our devices, mobile transactions are becoming one of the most convenient ways to shop. There are a few ways that this can be implemented – from third-party mobile pay services, to QR codes, to mobile monitoring by your employees.
We know that mobile pay is becoming a significant feature of contact-free payment at self-checkout kiosks. These advances in technology have made it possible for companies like Walmart to reduce both training and checkout time, speeding their customers through the checkout process and reducing labor costs. Providing options for your customers to use third party mobile pay systems (like Apple Pay) allows them to use a compact, easy-to-use mobile wallets to start and complete all of their transactions. But there is also a way for you to keep mobile pay services in-store – with branded mobile pay services that use QR codes to help customers purchase items.
With a QR code system, a customer can scan a code on the SCO payment terminal, pay using their mobile wallet or saved card and bank info and check out contact-free. Receipts are stored within the mobile payment system, saving paper and keeping each transaction touch-free.
Customers can do something similar with apps that allow them to check out without ever walking up to a physical POS. Customers can use the camera on their mobile phones to scan items as they walk through your convenience store, view their totals as they go and then pay securely without interacting with employees or physically touching payment systems. When they walk up to the self-checkout lane, they’re scanned by a payment system that verifies their transaction and allows them to leave contact-free.
Implementing mobile pay and self-service can also bolster your food service sales. While the food service industry sees a surge during the pandemic, more customers are looking for quick meals with limited human interaction. Your convenience store can provide prepared food in less time than a traditional fast food restaurant, and with the use of contact-free payment services, your customer can save even more time per transaction. As a c-store, you can provide more food service options than a fast-food restaurant, more convenience than a grocery store, all while keeping your customers safe with efficient payment services.
So where do your employees fit in? As it turns out, mobile pay services open up new roles for them, meaning that self-checkout doesn’t necessarily mean curtains for those you employ. In fact, employees can help with the common weaknesses of self-checkout systems while using mobile services.
Theft is one of the most common detractors of self-checkout services. With customers whooshing in and out of the store, items flying, and employees concerned with multiple people at once, it seems easy to pocket a few stolen items without issue. Luckily, your employees are your first line of defense when it comes to preventing theft from your convenience store.
Sam’s Club is notable company that uses this technology. If you’ve ever been to a store that sells in bulk, you’re familiar with the checkout process. After scanning and paying for your items, an employee reads the QR code on your receipt with a mobile device. The employee checks that you’ve paid for the merchandise, and moves you along the line. This could be an option for your c-store, providing security while respecting customer autonomy.
Still, as additional measures such as security cameras may be cost-prohibitive, you may need to rely on your employees to ensure that your theft prevention measures are adequate for your needs. The mere presence of your employee may be enough to remind customers that someone is watching and discourage theft from your convenience store.
Employees can also be trained to assist your customers through the self-checkout lane. When they make restricted purchases, such as alcohol and certain drugs, your employee can quickly approve transactions while still limiting contact between themselves and their customer. You can also train your employees to troubleshoot common software problems, remove unwanted items from the customer’s cart and ensure that the customer is satisfied with the checkout process.
Teaching your employees safe ways to interact with your customers can also help with customer service engagement, and create a tailored and friendly experience for your customer. Although efficient, self-service reduces the amount of contact between a customer and management, this isn’t always a good thing.
Good customer service continues to be an important measure of the competence of your store, and your employees can provide the much-needed interaction between your customer and convenience store. By creating options for touchless checkout while providing unrivaled customer service, you can strike the right balance between direct interaction and impersonal, hands-off service.
Despite the risks, SCO contact-free and mobile pay offers some clear rewards. Implementation cost may come as hindrance for some c-store owners, but you may find that electronic and touchless forms of checkout offers much needed relief for you and your customers. Providing services such as touchless and mobile pay also help your store appear modern and reinforce the concept of convenience that you rely on.