Apr 25 | 4 min read

White Paper: Ending Long Lines and Solving Labor Challenges in Retail

Explore the main challenges faced by retail operations and how self-service solutions provide an answer. Get the full white paper below.

Aila Staff
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In response to the escalating demand for efficiency and enhanced customer experiences in retail, self-service technology has emerged as a formidable solution. Retailers are increasingly adopting self-checkout and automated returns to address labor shortages and alleviate long lines, exacerbated by the surge in online returns. In this white paper, we delve into how self-checkout and automated returns are strategically positioned to tackle these challenges head-on in retail stores.

This is a summary of the full white paper which explores how self-service kiosks in retail can solve labor challenges and end long lines across the store. Get the full white paper now. 

Long Lines: A Source of Customer Frustration

Long checkout queues contribute to decreased satisfaction and sales. According to a 2023 study, a staggering 86% of U.S. consumers have abandoned shopping trips due to frustration from extended wait times, resulting in an estimated $38 billion in lost potential sales annually. Beyond brick-and-mortar stores, online retailers also grapple with processing returns efficiently, compounding customer service challenges.

Labor Shortages: A Persistent Industry Challenge

Labor shortages pose another significant hurdle for retailers, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. With 74% of retailers expecting shortages in customer-facing positions in 2023, businesses struggle to provide quality customer service amid staffing constraints. The economic recovery is gradually alleviating the situation, but many retailers still face difficulties in meeting demand and delivering exceptional customer experiences.

The Role of Self-Service Technology

Self-checkout and automated returns kiosks offer a transformative solution to address long lines and labor shortages in retail stores.

Self-Checkout: Empowering Customers and Enhancing Efficiency

Self-checkout technology enables customers to scan and pay for purchases independently, reducing reliance on traditional cashier-assisted transactions. Popularized by retailers like Walmart, Target, and The Home Depot, self-checkout not only mitigates long lines and labor shortages but also enhances overall customer experiences. According to a survey, 73% of shoppers prefer self-service technologies, highlighting the growing demand for autonomous checkout options.

Automated Returns: Streamlining the Returns Process

The surge in online shopping has led to a corresponding increase in returns, posing logistical challenges for retailers. Automated returns kiosks empower customers to initiate and process returns independently, reducing reliance on store associates. This streamlined process not only minimizes wait times but also lightens the workload for staff, allowing them to focus on critical tasks like restocking shelves and providing personalized customer service.

The Benefits of Self-Service Technology

Implementing self-checkout and automated returns kiosks yields a host of benefits for retailers:

  • Enhanced Customer Experience: Self-service options empower customers to control the pace of transactions, resulting in a more positive and convenient shopping experience.
  • Improved Efficiency: Self-service technologies reduce wait times and transaction speeds, particularly beneficial during peak periods with long lines.
  • Reduced Labor Costs: Fewer associates are needed to manage transactions, leading to substantial cost savings for businesses.

Real-World Impact: Case Studies

Fashion retailer Rent the Runway has experienced significant improvements in returns processing capabilities since deploying self-service returns kiosks. By handling four times the amount of customer returns traffic, Rent the Runway underscores the transformative impact of self-service technology on operational efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Self-service technology represents a strategic investment for retailers seeking to optimize operations, reduce costs, and enhance customer experiences. Interested in learning more? Download the full white paper to explore the transformative role of self-service technology in retail and discover actionable insights to optimize your operations:

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