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Self-Service is More Than Just Self-Checkout

The use of self-service technology is driving significant change and impact to both customer journeys and retailer strategies. The proliferation of consumer mobile devices combined with shifting customer demographics and a ubiquitous use of technology offers new opportunities for retailers to enhance their ability to meet or exceed their customer’s preferred service experience.


But when people think about self-service in brick-and-mortar retail, they tend to primarily associate the term with self-checkout. And while self-checkout is absolutely a growing trend for many retailers looking to provide the added convenience while looking to cut down on labor costs, retail self-service as an offering goes well beyond the concept of just self-checkout.


These typically break them down into a couple of different categories:


Experience Enhancers: These concepts are meant to help enhance the overall shopping experience by providing the consumer more information on their own terms.


  • Leveraging a mobile app for “store mode” functionality (product location, in-store coupons, etc.)

  • Using a kiosk or customer-facing scanner to validate a product sales price

  • Exploring in-depth product details, instructional videos, and associated items via an in-store kiosk

  • Facilitating an in-store return through a Returns Kiosk station


Because many of these concepts involve digital interaction, retailers are able to blend some of the benefits of the digital experience, such as personalization, deeper product catalog content, customer preferences, and access to past purchases.


Omni-Enablers: These self-service concepts exist to augment a retailer’s omni-channel capabilities.


  • Picking up Buy Online, Pickup In Store (BOPIS) product via an order pickup locker

  • Curbside pickup for product ordered online

  • Kiosks for ordering product unavailable in the store


Leveraging brick-and-mortar locations to

supply online ordered product more quickly to a customer can provide logistical and supply chain benefits to the retailer while also allowing the customer to avoid some of the hassles associated with standing in a queue for checkout. And self-service endless aisle functionality for customers has shown tremendous gains in being able to capture potential lost sales due to limited in-store product inventory.


The shift in importance of self-service in retail is a significant opportunity for retailers. When implemented properly, self-service functions are a win for both retailers and consumers. The consumer’s demand for improved speed-of-service and independence in the overall customer journey combined with higher wages and lower margins for retailers have all contributed to the importance of an effective self-service strategy.


RCP has successfully worked with many forward-thinking retailers to develop, design and implement self-service strategies which are providing top and bottom-line benefits. Reach out to us at info@retailconsultingpartners.com to learn more about our self-service experiences and proven methodologies.

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