Self-Checkout Apps: The Future of Retail

The business of retail has always been evolving with technology. Companies which have been at the helm of technology have dominated the retail sector. Consider the case of Wal-Mart which reached new heights in retail thanks to pioneering the RFID based inventory system. Similarly, Amazon has been using its technological advancement to give tough competition to Wal-Mart.

At the present moment, the current American retail market is witnessing a battle between Amazon and Wal-Mart. Both these companies are trying to woo customers with cheaper prices, better services, and more options. In their quest to outperform each other, both of these companies, as well as many others, have started using the self-checkout technology. It is clear that self-checkouts will indeed be a part of the retail store of the future.

In this article, we will have a closer look at the background of self-checkout technology. We will also understand why this technology is being rapidly implemented by the stalwarts of the retail industry.

The Background of Self-Checkout Apps

Amazon-Go is the latest and the most refined version of self-checkouts apps. Amazon has advertised its technological advancements and has made this boring technology look fashionable. At the present moment, it seems like Amazon is the leader in self-checkout technology.

With Amazon Go, retail stores can eliminate the need for cashiers. At first, shoppers have to scan their phones in order to enter the store. This is how the store recognizes the shopper as well as the account that needs to be charged for the merchandise which is being sold. Amazon Go uses advanced machine learning algorithms as well as motion sensors to figure out what the consumer has picked up and what they need to be charged for it. Once the scanning is done, the user is shown the final list of products that they have purchased. The user has to validate the same after which their credit card linked to the account gets charged for the sale price. This concept is being called the “Scan and Go” concept and is the most advanced form of self-checkout technology available today.

However, this is not the only form of self-checkout which has been tried in the market. Retailers such as Wal-Mart have been trying to implement self-checkout since 2013. However, they have not been as successful as Amazon. Wal-Mart stores still have separate self-checkout lanes where users have to manually scan their purchases before they checkout. Most traditional retailers have tried self-checkouts in one form or the other.

Now, specialized third-party companies have come into existence. These companies develop apps provide self-checkout experiences. The advantage of using their apps is that customers do not have to download a separate app for every store that they shop at.

Some of the advantages of using self-checkouts apps have been listed below.

No More Long Queues: The most obvious advantage of using a self-checkout app is that customers do not have to wait in queue for buying the products that they need. Stores are aware that the queues at the cashier’s counter are major pain points for customers. Sometimes, customers just abandon their purchases and move forward because of the long time taken in the checkout process. Tech-savvy millennials are used to having whatever they want at the click of a button. They don’t have the time or the patience to wait in line at a grocery store.

Supersizing: Retail stores are not the only ones that have been experimenting with self-checkout technology. Big players in the restaurant industry, like McDonald’s, have also been experimenting with this technology. In many stores, they have started using self-checkout technology because it was found to be increasing sales. Researchers have found out that many times customers felt embarrassed when they placed their orders. This is the reason why they purchased less. With self-checkout technology, they don’t have to come face to face with another human being and hence end up ordering more. Other players in the restaurant industry have also started following McDonald’s policy after noticing the spurt in sales.

Lower Costs: There are obvious cost advantages that are associated with self-checkout technology. This technology eliminates the need for human cashiers. As a result, the wage bill of the store gets reduced. In lieu, the store has to pay money to procure, maintain and upgrade technology. However, the main factor behind the adoption of self-checkout technology is the convenience that is offered. Since very few humans have to be employed at stores, companies can keep their stores open for longer durations and provide better customer service.

Personalized Offers: Lastly, when all purchases are routed via an app, the company has all the purchase data in an electronic format. This means that they can analyze the purchasing patterns of every individual and create personalized offers for them. Companies like Amazon and Wal-Mart are heavily banking on predictive analytics techniques as well. Some of these apps are intelligent enough to make meaningful offers to the customers when they are in the middle of the purchasing process. This often induces customers to buy more and helps pad the top line of the company.

To sum it up, self-checkout technology is growing by leaps and bounds. Big companies are transforming the retail sector by implementing newer versions of this technology.


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