Canadian shoppers opt for self-service technology

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on July 19, 2005

Over one-quarter of Canadians said they would be more likely to shop at a store that offers self-checkout technology, allowing shoppers to scan, bag and pay for goods themselves, as opposed to one that does not.

A recent Ipsos-Reid survey of a thousand Canadian consumers revealed that, among the 27% of respondents who would be more likely to shop at a store that offers the facility to check out their shopping themselves, 85% cited "speed of checkout" as a major benefit; 84% cited "shorter lines"; 75% cited "control"; and 71% cited "privacy". The survey was sponsored by NCR.

When it comes to other technologies that can improve the store experience, at least eight in ten (83%) consumers would like to see retailers offer kiosks for price-checking, and 61% indicate they would use kiosks for additional product information. Fifty-two percent liked the idea of a kiosk for pre-ordering deli items, and having the order fulfilled while they shop elsewhere in the store.

In the aisles
According to the study, some 63% of Canadian consumers feel the most important areas are having easily accessible personnel in the aisles, at a greeter station or at a customer service desk. Retailers could improve customer service if staff were reallocated to these areas. Using self checkout facilities, retailers could keep staff in the aisles and on the shop floor, rather than pulling them from these important areas in order to operate extra checkouts.

Not only groceries
According to NCR, the growth in self-service will not be restricted just to grocery stores. Many airlines, including WestJet, are deploying kiosks to expedite the check-in process. WestJet's self-serve check-in programme allows passengers to check in using either a credit card or confirmation number, make seat selections, check their bags and print their own boarding passes. According to WestJet's Don Bell, executive vice president, Guest Services: "An average of 30% to 40% of our passengers use our self-serve check-in kiosks. However, it's not uncommon that during busy times, as many as 70% of customers choose the self-service route."

The trend toward self-service is expected to increase as kiosks appear in fast-food restaurants for pre-ordering, cell phone stores for faster bill payment and car rental agencies for making or updating reservations. NCR subsidiary Kinetics recently introduced CheckinHere, a kiosk solution that allows passengers to check in for their flights at off-airport locations such as hotels and cruise ports.

Full tabular results can be obtained by visiting Ipsos-Reid.

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