Self-checkout is the method of checkout wherein customers make the payment and complete their transaction in the supermarket by themselves. The process involves attaching a separate self-checkout machine to each lane, which plays a vital role in self-checkout applications. It saves time spent on waiting in queue and allowing customers to buy items at their convenience. The self-checkout system is more popular among customers.
Implementing a self-checkout system is not a big deal these days as many companies in the market can provide you with this service. So, let’s get a deep dive into how you can implement an AI self-checkout system.
How to Implement an AI Self-Checkout System?
Benefits of a Self-Checkout System
Today, self-checkout is a preferred choice for many consumers seeking convenience and faster shopping. Self-checkout kiosks are gaining popularity in the retail industry, with almost 80% of the respondents saying that they prefer self-checkouts to staffed checkout. A study found that more than 60% of customers would use self-checkout if available at their favorite store.
The main benefits of a self-checkout system include:
With self-checkouts, retailers can improve their efficiency as no cashier is required to manage every transaction. It also eliminates long queues as shoppers can scan and pay for their items without any help from an employee. This has become an important factor when it comes to customer service in retail stores.
Self-checkouts require minimal staffing and maintenance cost which makes them a cost-effective alternative to manned checkouts. Not only do you get to save on labor costs but also automate your inventory management processes thereby saving time that would otherwise be spent on manual counting and reconciliation tasks.
Improved customer experience
Self-checkout systems are easy to use and make the checkout process smooth and simple for customers, especially those who don't have a lot of items to buy at once. Customers tend to like not having to wait in line for long periods, especially when there are only one or two people in front of them which is often the case with self-checkouts.
Additionally, retailers can use these self-checkout kiosks to engage with customers and promote their products.
Retailers often get to know their customers through the checkout process. Self-checkout kiosks can be designed with a screen, allowing retailers to promote products based on customers’ purchase history, or they can have an interactive display that promotes products available at the store.
Disadvantages of self check-out systems
Disadvantages of a Self-Checkout System
Self-checkout systems are the in-thing nowadays. They have been adopted by a large number of businesses in different industries. One of the main reasons for this is the fact that they can significantly reduce the cost of operation. However, these systems also have their fair share of shortcomings. Let's look at some of them:
Increased risk of theft
With self-checkout systems, you are essentially allowing your customers to do away with part of your staff. This means they can also take advantage of this and steal items more easily than they would if there was a cashier around. This is particularly true with small items such as batteries and sweets.
Higher system setup cost
Unlike traditional systems which only required a POS terminal and a printer, self-checkout systems are much more complex and therefore more expensive to install. Even if you decide to go for cheap self-checkout terminals, you still have to buy scanners, scales, and other accessories that come with these systems. Each additional component adds to the total cost of purchase and installation.
Self check-out system in retail
Implementing a Self-Checkout System in Your Retail Business
There are many retail checkout counter ideas in the market. Companies that make self-checkout adopt the following self-checkout system.
Paperless Self-Checkout System
A self-checkout system is a computerized point of sale that can be used by the customers themselves. It has a terminal and a screen, which displays the various options. To implement a self-checkout system, you can make use of electronic shelf labels which can display the payment QR code and support NFC function. This will allow you to get rid of paper price tags, as well as receipts.
Purchsed items' price will be displayed on the electronic price tags along with its payment QR code. The customer then needs to scan the QR code to pay for them or use NFC to pay. This is how you can implement self-checkout systems in your store.
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Stand-Alone Self-Checkout Machines
These machines are very easy for customers to use and do not require any additional time from staff members. Customers can make payments from their smartphones simply by scanning their phones at the machine and paying the amount through their preferred mobile payment app.
But these machines have higher setup costs so you may need higher capital to implement such a self-checkout system.
Mobile Point of Sales (mPOS) Self-Checkout Systems
mPOS Self-checkout systems share many characteristics of other types of mPOS systems. They rely on mobile devices to scan and process payments, so they are easy to deploy in new environments or change locations as needed. They may be connected to a back-end server for centralized management or operate independently.
mPOS system self-check-out system
Artificial Intelligence and Image Recognition in Self-Checkout Systems
By far, the most common application of image recognition technology in self-checkout systems is to ensure that customers are scanning the right items.
There are two major ways in which image recognition technology can be used to prevent shoplifting through self-checkout lanes. The first is by implementing a system that checks whether a barcode has been scanned or not. If a barcode hasn't been scanned, but the customer has already put an item into their bag, then an alarm will sound.
The second way in which image recognition can be implemented is by recognizing the exact type of item that has been scanned. Some customers might try to scan an item with a lower price than the one they have taken from the shelf, to pay less than they should. To avoid this kind of situation, some supermarkets have implemented systems that recognize the exact product that has been scanned (and not just the barcode), thus preventing this kind of fraud.
You should be able to implement a self-checkout system in your retail business by considering the above tips. Self-checkout is quick and convenient for your customers, allowing them to purchase items themselves with minimum help from the store manager.