So, you’ve noticed the shift in the market towards smarter frictionless shopping experiences and want to dive in?
Great! No matter the industry, any retail business could find itself in trouble if it doesn’t keep up with the times and stay ahead of the competition.
Nowadays, that means offering a more streamlined experience for customers by having smart checkout and autonomous shopping capabilities. After all, consumers are demanding streamlined checkout processes
With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at what retail businesses need to know about implementing a smart checkout system and what they can gain by having one in place.
How Smart Are You Going?
The first step to implementing a smart checkout is deciding just how smart you want to go. There are many different types of technology to be used in retail settings, and each business needs to decide on the right fit for its needs.
Of course, this will depend on the size of the store, the products sold, how willing the clientele of that store is to adapt to new technology, how much of an investment the company wants to make, the type of inventory, budgeting, and location.
But even with all these things in mind, it’s all about finding the right fit and giving it a try. To help you decide, collect data to determine what system will make the most sense for your business.
Here are three systems to consider implementing:
Grab and Scan
The first type of smart checkout many retail stores are adopting is grab and scan, a simple and increasingly popular self-checkout method. Customers merely come to the store and fill their bags or shopping carts as they would normally. The difference is instead of going to a checkout station and having an employee ring up their total, the customer goes to a self-checkout kiosk and scans items on their own. With this self-checkout scanner system, customers are able to use the scanner, weigh produce, bag, and pay at the kiosk without the help of an employee.
Obviously, this isn’t a fully autonomous shopping experience. There is usually an attendant in the vicinity of several self-checkout stations in case customers need help or run into a problem.
Use a Smart Cart
Smart carts have become increasingly common in grocery stores as they help customers save much time, not to mention help retailers avoid errors.
With smart shopping carts, regular carts are fitted with a weighing attachment that automatically detects anytime an item is added or removed from the shopping cart. This system works for every product, including fresh produce that needs weighing to determine the price.
The smart technology tracks every item in the cart and calculates the price while the customer is shopping. When the customer has completed collecting products, they pay with a credit card or charge an account without the need to scan everything again or visit a checkout station.
Obviously, if there are a lot of items, the customer will still have to place their items in bags. However, the checkout process is avoided entirely because the smart cart technology has already taken care of that, making it easy to leave the store as soon as they’ve placed their last item in the shopping cart.
The ultimate example is smart shelving technology which involves integrating shelving with sensors and data analytics into stores. These shelves enable retailers to track product inventory, monitor customer behavior, and make real-time personalized promotions and recommendations to improve the shopping experience.
As for the customers, smart shelving provides a more convenient shopping experience with accurate product information, better navigation, and reduced wait times.
Do Retailers Need Anything to Implement these Systems?
The great news? No, besides purchasing smart checkout scales, smart cart attachments, or smart shelving, retailers don't need anything else to jump into implementing smart checkout systems in their business.
Of course, retailers may need to make some adjustments to accommodate the new systems, for example, clearing space for the chosen systems, as the placement of the smart checkout technology can have a great impact on customer satisfaction. After all, customers need enough space to move around and complete transactions. Naturally, the layout will depend on the goods you sell.
Additional adjustments include ensuring that the system of choice is integrated with your point of sale (POS) system to track sales, manage inventory, collect customer data, and provide customers with real-time product availability information.
Train Your Staff
It may seem obvious but like all things in business, diving headfirst into newer, smarter operational methods without training is never a good idea.
Smart technology is an investment, not to mention it can take time for customers and staff to adjust to it. Remember, while most consumers are calling for frictionless shopping experiences, there will still be those who aren't as tech-savvy or happy to welcome change.
With this in mind, it will be helpful to train your staff on how to use the new technology. Teach staff how the technology works, how to troubleshoot all possible issues that may arise, how to assist customers with the checkout process, and anything else you deem relevant.
Doing this will ensure you have a smooth transition and let you gauge how customers are responding to the technology.
Track and Analyze Customer Data
Monitoring and analyzing customer data from your smart checkout system is essential for successful implementation, not to mention improving the shopping experience for your customers.
Use data to gain insight into customer behavior and preferences, such as the most purchased products, the main purchase times and days, and the frequency.
For example, let's say you find that customers are having difficulty finding some items in your store. With these insights, you can move them to more accessible locations. But that's not all, as by understanding your most purchased products, you can offer targeted promotions and recommendations, increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Data analysis can also help you improve the efficiency of your smart checkout system. By tracking how long customers spend at checkout, you can identify bottlenecks and adjust accordingly to reduce wait times.
What Other Benefits Can You Gain?
Assuming that a retailer can implement a smart checkout system successfully, there are a lot of potential benefits to reap. Obviously, creating a quicker and more efficient shopping experience for customers will make them happy and build brand loyalty.
Needless to say, that helps a company’s bottom line in the long run and makes the investment in smart technology worthwhile. However, there are other benefits for business.
For instance, smart cart technology can help reduce the strain on employees. Rather than employees worried about checking out customers in a timely manner, they use their time in other ways to help serve customers. For example, they can help ensure that items are properly stocked and that customers know where to find the items they want, further adding to a positive experience for customers. This can also reduce the need for many employees and, as an effect, payroll costs.
With less of a need for traditional checkout stations, retailers can find a new use for that space. Whether it’s adding more items or merely positioning products in a more consumer-friendly way, this is another way to improve the customer experience. The bottom line is that when customers are happy, business should be good. That’s why using smart checkout technology is a great way for retailers in any industry to make their customers happy.
Implementing smart checkout technology in your retail business requires careful planning and attention to detail. By following these steps, you can ensure that your smart checkout system is implemented smoothly, providing a better shopping experience for your customers and boosting your bottom line.
Ready to find the right product for your retail business? Check out our various smart checkout solutions today. We’re sure we have the right product for your needs.