Common Retail Self-Checkout Systems: Their Advantages and Disadvantages

Customer surveys show that 60% of people are annoyed by long checkout queues. In response, retailers are focusing more on integrating retail solutions to remove friction and make the shopping process seamless. Self-checkout is becoming a key to retail success across all retail industries as it reduces in-store checkout queues and offers a convenient shopping experience. The 2021 State of Self-Checkout Experiences report shows that most customers are ready to embrace self-checkout in their shopping habits. As a result, self-checkout systems acceleratedly continue to attract retail giants.

Self-checkout systems are available to retailers in various variants and combinations. The right choose can help retailers to optimize the checkout process, differentiate themselves in the market and attract more customers. In this article, you will learn the advantages and disadvantages of the most common self-checkout systems.

1. Self-Checkout Machine / Station:

Self checkout kiosks

The self-checkout machine is one of the most common solutions where customers become their own cashiers. A customer can go to the self-checkout station, use the machine to scan the items and pay at the end of the transaction. The advantages of investing in self-checkout stations:

  • Shorter checkout lines and faster than traditional staffed checkouts
  • Better customer experience
  • High accuracy
  • Increased staff productivity
  • Lower labor costs

Self-service checkouts have the following disadvantages:

  • High setup and implementation costs
  • Additional space requirements in the store
  • Slower than other self-checkout solutions
  • Extra work and technical skill requirements from customers (customer confusion)
  • Customer confusion and equipment issues
  • Increased risk of theft or transaction fraud
  • Hygiene concerns about the machines in the post-Covid world

2. Self-Scan (Scan&Go):

Self-Scan or Scan & Go is also one of the most common self-checkout solutions. Customers register to scan the items during shopping and pay before they leave the store. Scan & Go can be implemented in two ways: either the customer scans a barcode with their mobile phones or IoT-based technologies like smart EAS tags with RFID. The advantages of Scan & Go:

  • Quick and accurate
  • No checkout queues
  • Improved customer experience
  • Omnichannel experience in brick-and-mortar stores
  • Easy and accurate customer data collection
  • No additional space is required for checkout
  • Increased staff productivity
  • Lower labor costs

Disadvantages of Scan & Go :

  • Increased Risk of Theft (without anti-theft devices)
  • Requires mobile device for checkout
  • Only digital payment option
  • Gives more work to the shopper

3. Smart Cart

Smart shopping carts are also a very common self-checkout solution, especially for groceries. A customer puts the items in a smart cart during shopping and the smart cart automatically scans the items as they are put in. At the end of the shopping trip, the customer pays for them. The advantages of smart carts

  • Convenience during shopping
  • No checkout lines
  • High accuracy
  • Increased staff productivity
  • Reduced labor cost
  • Accurate physical data collection

Disadvantages of smart carts:

  • Very high initial investment in hardware (replacement of carts and baskets to smart carts with scanner)
  • Requires servicing and maintenance
  • Requirement for high connectivity and reliability

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common self checkout systems and their advantages disadvantages

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