Self-checkout: the power in customer’s hands

There are examples scattered around the world, showing how self-service can bolster customer satisfaction and help connect digital and physical strategies

Antonio Castilho

Learn a new recipe, research everything before deciding which new cell phone to buy, build your own playlist. If there is one concept that has gained prominence in our lives in recent years, that idea is certainly the logic of “Do It Yourself” (DIY, in English). The fact is that, among the many changes brought about by the Digital Revolution, access to technology has allowed power to be increasingly in our hands. And that also includes the time of payment.

In an increasingly experience-oriented world, what people most want is to have an easy, practical and safe service proposal. In this scenario, self-checkout is clearly a fundamental way to take physical retail to the future, especially when we think about the context brought by the Covid-19 pandemic, in which safety, hygiene and distancing precautions were reinforced in the routine of consumers.

Antonio Castilho

In this scenario, offering self-service for payment has proved to be an essential solution for a number of reasons. Among them, we can highlight the possibility of building more convenient journeys for customers, by avoiding unnecessary contacts and risks, and more efficient for shopkeepers and buyers, allowing, for example, store service teams to focus on helping customers consumers at other moments of the shopping experience.

It is not by chance, according to research by Global Market Insights, that the self-service market is expected to grow approximately 11% per year until 2027. Until then, it is estimated that investment in technologies of this type will exceed the mark of 6.5 billion dollars in all the globe, against approximately $3.5 billion in 2020.

From the customers’ point of view, the adoption of self-checkout tools means a step forward in simplifying and streamlining the purchase process. The gain, however, can go beyond that, by also allowing companies to think about ways to ensure that personalized offers can be applied to each customer – to reinforce loyalty, for example.

Merchants, therefore, should see self-service checkouts as an opportunity to reduce the friction of their offer and, above all, as a shortcut to integrate and maximize their services. Including more intelligence and automation in payment is a way to bring physical service closer to the practicality and speed of online commerce.

Especially because, as we have seen in this resumption, Brazilians will not leave their lives outside their homes behind. According to data from a survey promoted by the consultancy Box1824, for example, more than half of Brazilians say they prefer to do their shopping in physical stores, even if in a different way to what was done before.

In other words, it is important for retailers to understand that innovation initiatives should not focus solely and exclusively on the virtual space and for e-commerce. On the contrary, marketers need to understand that the real world will continue to be a key component of business, even with the growing power of digital in the consumer’s routine.

It is this reality that self-checkout solutions address by simplifying the integration of online and offline (O2O). By installing self-service, retailers are creating a smarter, more convenient and faster environment for consumers – and potentially safer and centered on each person’s history.

This is because the most modern and truly connected terminals are capable of, among other things, allowing the consolidation of promotions that are truly aligned with the buyer’s profile and consumption history, following their complete journey – what this consumer has already seen or bought in the store. virtual and app, for example, and other in-store purchases as well. That way, retailers can drive really compelling loyalty programs.

The same scenario is open to banks. The most modern self-service tools represent the chance to promote specific marketing campaigns, or to provide rates and credit conditions that are much more personalized and in line with each client’s score. In addition, these machines rely on advanced technology to be managed and supported with more precision, boosting the availability of services even in peak moments or unforeseen situations.

All these are advantages that we must keep in mind when we think about innovation for retail. There are already dozens of successful examples spread across the planet, showing how self-service can reinforce customer satisfaction and help connect digital and physical strategies. And that’s what matters, because there is no longer any doubt that strategies should not be thought of in different silos. In an increasingly omnichannel world, with multiple platforms sharing the same information, it is necessary to create a safe and efficient ecosystem as a whole. But it is this same hyper-connected world that we must keep in mind to remember that, wherever they go, the customer insists on having decision-making power and experience always at their disposal, within reach.

Antonio Castilho, retail manager at Diebold Nixdorf Brasil.