Of 150 self-checkout users surveyed in Munich, Germany, in April 2006 by Visual Merchandising Initiative, almost three-quarters (73 per cent) preferred self-checkouts to attended checkouts.

The self-checkout deployment in question, at an Edeka store near Munich, separated the scanning and payment processes, with 12 self-scanning units that preceded 6 ePOS terminals for payment. Store customers had the option of using scan-and-bag (immediate packing) or scan-and-pass (conveyor belt) checkouts before paying at one of the six attended payment points.

Self-service payment terminals with security for unattended payments may soon be introduced at the store as its management seeks to maximize return from the technology investment. With 70 per cent of survey respondents stating that self-scanning enhanced their shopping experience, and 64 per cent welcoming the reduced waiting in store lines, the value of self-checkouts is clear. From the store operator’s perspective, self-checkouts give a fast return on investment by always being available and freeing up attendants to work elsewhere in the store, or to assist customers.

On average, self-checkouts are used by 30 per cent of customers visiting a store with the facility, with both retailers and customers benefiting from reduced line times, which increase customer satisfaction and loyalty. Given the option, many customers choose a self-checkout lane over an attended checkout for the convenience and speed factors. In London, UK, self-serve stores with multiple self-checkout units and just one or two attended checkout lanes already operate and will become more common as retailers apply the advantages of the systems to their own strategies.