New Data: Consumers’ Shifting Expectations to Self-Service Retail

This article originally appeared on PYMNTS.com.

Self-service checkout technology is transforming the way Americans think about customer service.

Not long ago, good customer service meant properly training sales associates to assist shoppers in need. Now, more and more companies are shifting to tech-based customer service. As of Q2 2018, 95 percent of American consumers had encountered at least one form of self-service retail and 49 percent used them on a weekly basis at the supermarket.

From a retailer’s perspective, the benefits of self-service checkout options are obvious: They are relatively inexpensive to maintain, reduce labor costs and make consumers’ in-store shopping experiences faster and seamless. It’s no wonder that players ranging from retailers to QSRs have been eager to experiment with variations of self-service technology, and new forms appear to be cropping up every year, including not only the familiar self-service kiosks at grocery stores, but wholly cashier-less stores.

How do customers feel about these options?

According to our most recent survey data, American shoppers are not only comfortable with self-service checkout options, but many prefer them to real-life sales associates. Respondents cited several factors — including speed, convenience and ease of use — to explain why they are increasingly opting to wait in the self-service checkout line.

In the latest Self-Service Retail Study, PYMNTS, in collaboration with Diebold Nixdorf, examines survey data collected from 2,170 American shoppers on their experiences with and impressions of self-service retail checkout options. Our findings suggest that self-service technology is not merely the latest cost-saving fad, but rather a product of consumers’ demand for a faster, easier and more seamless shopping experience.

Other key findings in this report include:

  • 45 percent of self-service customers pay with debit cards
  • 28 percent of shoppers would frequent a non-grocer more if it had self-service checkouts
  • 87 percent of respondents who shop at self-service stores do so because it’s faster

Download the full report here. Interested in discussing how self-service could help transform your retail experience? Let’s start a conversation.