Consumer familiarity with online shopping is accelerating the in-store use of kiosks and self-checkouts, which in turn is benefiting retailers that sell over multiple channels.

Fundamentally, consumers want convenience and flexibility in the purchasing process, and kiosks in particular can be a valuable to a retailer’s multi-channel sales. Kiosk-based information, simplified payment and checkout options can promote closer integration between online and in-store sales channels, while allowing consumers to conduct independent product research or to track orders.

Retail self-service is popular with consumers, as an IBM survey of 5,000 shoppers in France, Germany and the UK shows. In the grocery sector, 53 per cent of French consumers would like to use self-checkouts, versus 40 per cent in the UK, and 37 per cent in Germany. When buying electronics, 45 per cent of French consumers would order online and collect in-store, as opposed to 40 per cent in the UK, and 36 per cent in Germany. As consumer acceptance of unattended purchasing grows, retailers are also benefiting in terms of improved sales and customer service.

Major retailers in Europe are installing self-checkout systems after observing that in many cases, self-checkout sales at their US-based peers account for 10 per cent or more of annual revenues. The latest self-tendering checkouts separate payment and scanning functions for security and clarity by having a separate pay-point that accepts cash and card transactions and reduces staff thefts at attended tills. Retailers in Europe are said to have strong interest in these self-tendering checkouts, where consumers scan their goods before visiting a pay-point and leaving the store.