Canadians hungry for retail self-service, survey says

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on March 9, 2006

Over half (56%) of Canadians say they are more likely to shop at stores with self-service than those without, according to a study of consumer shopping habits published by NCR Corporation.

In a similar study by Ipsos Reid in September 2004, only 27% of consumers said they would be more likely to shop at store with self-checkout. But in the latest survey, also by Ipsos Reid and sponsored by self-check out provider NCR Corporation, the majority (89%) said that most of their shopping trips are for ten or fewer items, and more than half (52%) said they feel frustrated waiting in line to check out.

Queuing problems
The consumers surveyed for NCR also said that:

  • They spend an average of 8.4 minutes queuing at the check out.
  • They wait almost 30 minutes, on average, in stores either trying to get information or ordering something.
  • When asked which self-service technologies they would be most likely to use, 44% said they would use self-checkout to scan, bag and pay for their items.
  • Consumers said there are other ways in which self-service technologies could make shopping more convenient: many cited to the ability to "check prices yourself in the store" (62%), while almost one-third (30%) cited being "able to pay for and collect a pre-ordered delivery".

According to Patrick Leonard, vice president of NCR's Retail Solutions Division in Canada, "Consumers are no longer willing to wait in line or tolerate poor service, and are demanding the ability to serve themselves when, how, and where they want."

Retailer benefits
As Leonard pointed out, self-service options in retail stores (and particularly in supermarkets) can help the retailer better manage its staff, especially during peak times. With self-checkout, store personnel can be redirected to other customer service tasks (such as providing product information and sales assistance) or to shelf restocking.

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