May 19 | 3 min read

Streamlining Retail Operations with Self-Service Technology

Aila Staff

As retailers grapple with the challenges of labor shortages and long lines, self-service technology has emerged as a powerful solution. Self-checkout and automated returns have become increasingly popular in recent years, as retailers seek to streamline their operations and minimize customer wait times.

The negative impact of long lines and labor shortages on customer experience

According to a 2023 study, 86% of U.S. consumers have left a store due to frustration from long lines in the last 12 months. With customers leaving empty-handed, retailers are losing an estimated $38 billion in potential sales. Long lines can cause not only decreased satisfaction and decreased sales, but also cause employees to become stressed and overworked, resulting in decreased job satisfaction and increased turnover.

One of the causes of long lines are labor shortages. Retailers have been struggling with labor shortages for several years, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the problem. Retail stores are struggling to find enough workers to fill open positions, and as a result, are facing difficulties in providing quality customer service. With 74% expecting shortages in customer-facing positions this year, this can lead to reduced store hours, limited customer service, and increased wait times.

Self-service & automated returns= A win-win for retailers and customers 

Self-checkout technology allows customers to scan and pay for their purchases without the assistance of a cashier. This technology has been gaining popularity in recent years, with retailers such as Walmart, Target, and Home Depot implementing it in their stores. Not only does self-checkout help with long lines and labor shortages, but it also helps with the customer’s overall experience. Additionally, self-checkout technology can help mitigate the impact of labor shortages, as stores can rely on fewer cashiers to process transactions.

Returns are another key area that self-service can streamline experiences and offset staffing challenges. Automated return technology allows customers to initiate and process returns without the assistance of a store associate. The technology of automating returns can help alleviate the problem of long lines and labor shortages by providing a more efficient and streamlined process for both customers and store employees.

The Takeaway

Long lines and labor shortages are significant problems for retailers, decreasing efficiency and hurting the bottom line. Self-service solutions like self-checkout and automated returns can help retailers reduce wait times, offset labor costs, and improve the customer experience. Aila’s Interactive Kiosk™ offers retailers a modern, easy-to-use, and quick-to-deploy self-service solution that’s perfect for in-location environments. By implementing self-service technology, retailers can future-proof their operations and meet the needs of their customers in an ever-changing retail landscape.

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