Insights

From Ending Long Lines to Boosting Convenience: The Impact of Self-Checkout and Self-Ordering in Supermarkets

By Aila Staff

June 8, 2023

The grocery industry plays a vital role in our daily lives, ensuring we have access to essential goods. However, this sector faces significant challenges, such as long lines and labor shortages, which negatively impact both customer satisfaction and financial stability.

The problem 

Long Lines: A Frustration for Customers and a Financial Loss for Grocers

Long lines at grocery stores are a primary source of frustration for customers, leading to decreased satisfaction and lost sales opportunities. Studies reveal that 86% of U.S. consumers have left a store due to long lines in the past year alone, resulting in an estimated $38 billion in potential sales lost. Furthermore, extended wait times not only affect customers but also stress and overwork employees, leading to reduced job satisfaction and higher turnover rates.

Labor Shortages: A Growing Challenge in the Grocery Industry

The grocery industry has been grappling with labor shortages for years, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Finding enough workers to fill open positions has become increasingly difficult, leading to limited customer service, reduced store hours, and longer wait times. The pandemic-induced unemployment surge and safety concerns prompted many employees to leave their jobs, leaving businesses, including grocery stores, struggling to meet demand.

The Solution 

Self-Checkout: Empowering Customers and Alleviating Labor Shortages

Self-checkout technology enables customers to scan and pay for their purchases without the assistance of a cashier. This technology has gained popularity in recent years, with major retailers like Walmart, Target, and Home Depot implementing it. Self-checkout not only addresses long lines but also enhances the overall customer experience. A survey found that 73% of shoppers prefer self-service technologies, such as self-checkout, over engaging with store associates. By relying on fewer cashiers, stores can mitigate the impact of labor shortages, shorten lines, and improve customer satisfaction. 

Self-Service Ordering: Streamlining Deli Orders and Reducing Wait Times

Self-service ordering kiosks provide a solution for labor shortages, as 67% of customers prefer self-service over interacting with staff members. Self-service ordering kiosks allow customers to place deli orders without waiting in line, reducing the need for additional staff members. By minimizing wait times, self-service deli ordering kiosks free up staff to focus on other essential tasks, such as food preparation and customer service.

Benefits of self-service technology 

Implementing self-checkout and self-service ordering kiosks offers numerous advantages for both customers and grocery stores:

Improved customer experience: Self-service options allow customers to customize orders and pay at their own pace, leading to faster and more efficient transactions, reducing wait times, and enhancing overall satisfaction.

Increased efficiency: By reducing the need for several staff members at checkout or deli counter, self-service technologies enable employees to concentrate on tasks like restocking shelves or providing customer assistance.

Reduced labor costs: Implementing self-checkout and self-service ordering kiosks requires fewer associates, resulting in reduced labor costs for grocery stores.

Minimized mistakes: Self-service technologies empower customers to control the ordering process, reducing the likelihood of errors such as incorrect orders or overcharging.

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