Retale, a location-based mobile platform connecting more than 3.5 million shoppers with their favorite major retailers locally, announced the results of a new commissioned study examining consumer self-service checkout adoption among brick-and-mortar retailers.
The study focused on several areas of the experience, including convenience, challenges and desired improvements. More than 1,000 adult men and women across the U.S. were polled for the study.
The overwhelming majority of shoppers (85%) have used a self-service checkout kiosk, with just 15% having never done so. 91% of Millennials—those 18-34 years of age— have used a self-service kiosk versus 81% of those 35 and older.
Of the respondents that have used self-service checkout, the most popular reasons for doing so were: “I have a limited number of items” (72%); “there was no line” (55%); “I prefer to keep my transactions and financial information private” (13%); and “I don’t like interacting with cashiers” (12%). Among millennials, “I don’t like interacting with cashiers” was eight percentage points higher than the average (20%).
Two-thirds (67%) of all respondents said that self-service kiosks are convenient versus 33% inconvenient. Of the 67%, however, 41% said that, despite its convenience, the experience “could be a lot better.”
Across all respondents, 43% say that they often need help from an associate when using self-service checkout. Millennials were less likely to need support (37%) compared to those over 34 (47%).
The top challenges in using self-service kiosks include: scanning items (35%); entering coupons (24%); understanding the service screen (16%); paying with cash (15%); and entering product codes (14%).
When asked the number of products that they would feel comfortable checking out with via self-service, the majority (33%) selected 5-9. However, 26% said that they would be comfortable with 10-14 items while 24% would be comfortable with more than 15. Only 17% selected 1-4.
Despite current self-service checkout limitations, nearly half of all respondents (49%) would like to see more kiosks at every retail location to help streamline the checkout process. As the number of kiosks increases, a majority of respondents (53%) want at least one store employee overseeing kiosks to ensure devices are used smoothly; as well as limits on the number of items shoppers can pay for at each kiosk (32%).
When asked about the retailers that should add more self-service kiosks, 49% picked mass merchandisers, followed by supermarkets (46%), drugstores (42%), convenience stores (27%), department stores (24%), and specialty stores (24%).
Also, as technology advances, 20% of those surveyed wish to have the option to pay via a mobile phone or smartwatch at each kiosk. Among Millennials, 26% want to be able to pay at self-service kiosks using mobile devices versus 16% for those over 34.
“Almost a quarter of all Millennials use self-service kiosks to avoid any sort of interaction with cashiers,” said Pat Dermody, president of Retale. “As a result, there is a growing demand for more automation and innovation throughout the checkout experience, via integrations with smartphones, wearables and other mobile devices. This will add to the convenience factor that already appears to be key to the experience.”