This article describes various ways to implement a cashier-less system for retail stores, including both traditional and innovative approaches. Self-check-out (SCO) systems are automated kiosks where customers can scan items themselves without assistance from store staff. These systems are also referred to as assisted checkouts or self-service checkouts. 

With self-checkouts, shoppers simply pick out items from shelves and place them into carts. Customers then proceed to checkout lines where they can pay for their purchases. Supervisors monitor these lines to ensure that no one takes advantage of the system.

What is a self-checkout system?

Self-checkout systems are checkout systems that allow customers to scan their own items without assistance. They can be found in grocery stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, pharmacies, drugstores, gas stations, liquor stores, department stores, and many other retail establishments. 

Self-service checkout systems typically consist of the following parts:

  • A bar code scanner/weighing scale
  • A bagging area
  • A computer system to run the software

Types of self-check-out systems 

There are different types of self-checkout machines with varying approaches. Here are different types of self-checkout machines: 

  • Express retail self-checkout counters
  • Mobile scanners and smart carts
  • Self-checkout kiosk systems
  • Self-checkout RFID scanner gates
  • Self-checkout sensors and AI
  • Mobile scan and go self-checkout apps

Who should implement self-checkout and who shouldn’t?

Self-checkout technology is becoming increasingly popular among retailers across the globe. In fact, many large supermarket chains, such as Walmart and Costco, now offer self-checkout options at most locations. Many restaurants are also implementing self-service kiosks. Fast food giants like McDonald’s and Burger King have been rolling out self-service kiosks at their retail outlets for quite some time now.

These allow customers to order fast food and make payments, thereby bypassing the long queues. The use of self-service checkouts is growing rapidly because it allows consumers to spend less time waiting in line. This means that they can spend more time enjoying themselves. Furthermore, with self-service checkouts, you don’t need to hire additional employees to help people navigate the payment process. You simply need to train your existing workforce to operate the machines.

However, there are certain types of items that cannot be purchased via self-checkout. Items like cigarettes, alcohol and lottery require human interaction. As a result, self-checkout technology isn’t always optimal when these types of products are primary sales drivers

Top considerations for businesses that want to implement self-checkout

While many retailers see the technology as an opportunity to improve efficiency and boost sales, others worry about losing control over the transaction process. 

Before you implement self-checkouts at your store, here are a few things you should consider:

  • Know your customer demographics. Study your customers’ age groups and purchasing patterns.
  • Create a plan to increase sales during peak hours.
  • Include incentives such as coupons or special offers.
  • Keep an eye on the competition. If there are no self-checkout options, you’ll lose potential customers.
  • Ask yourself: “Is my store ready?”
  • Make sure your employees are trained properly. They’re responsible for helping customers complete transactions, so it’s important for them to understand how to handle issues like price discrepancies and returns.

Benefits of self-service checkout systems

Self-checkouts are used at some grocery store chains. They have some advantages including:

Faster checkouts and shorter lines

Self-service provides convenience to consumers and optimizes the checkout experience. Many people prefer not to spend time waiting in long lines. By eliminating the wait time, self-service kiosks allow shoppers to complete transactions faster and therefore increase throughput. Self-checkout lanes save customer’s valuable time!

Greater accuracy

Self-checkout stations are becoming increasingly popular across retail stores. After all, they allow customers to scan items which saves employees valuable time and reduces errors. 

Offset rising labour shortages

Retailers love self-checkout terminals because they greatly help offset rising labour shortages while increasing operational efficiency. Since self-service machines reduce the need for cashiers, scheduling becomes a bit easier, and employees can be reassigned to more strategic tasks around the store.

Improved customer experience

Self-checkout kiosks increase customer satisfaction. When a shopper scans his or her own groceries or products, the cashier doesn’t have to spend precious time scanning and bagging items. Instead, he or she can focus on taking care of other customers. These systems offer customers convenience since shoppers can complete transactions quickly and easily without having to wait in line.  Additionally, they can avoid crowds and find parking spaces more efficiently.

According to a survey conducted by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), consumers were satisfied with self-checkout kiosks when compared to traditional checkout lines. Here’s a breakdown of the ACSI results:

  • Kiosk users were slightly more likely to rate their overall shopping experience positively than non-kiosk users
  • Kiosk shoppers were significantly more likely to say that they felt like they got excellent service from store staff
  • Kiosks helped increase sales per hour
  • Kiosk users reported feeling safer than when they had to wait in traditional checkout lines

Based on these findings, self-checkout kiosks seem to be a win-win situation for both retailers and shoppers.

How to select the right self-checkout solution

Self-checkouts are here to stay. They’re convenient, efficient, and cost-effective. In fact, retailers are seeing a huge increase in sales because of them. However, there are many different types of self-checkouts out there, and each offers different advantages. Some are better suited for certain stores while others are ideal for specific customer segments.

When shopping for a self-checkout system for your store, you must consider the following factors:

  • Speed: How long does it take to process a transaction? Is it fast enough to keep shoppers engaged?
  • Customer experience: Does the system provide quick access to product information? Are customers able to find what they need quickly and easily? Do they feel comfortable navigating the software?
  • Security: What level of security do you require? 
  • Ease of use: Will your customers understand how to operate the system? Can they complete transactions without assistance?
  • Cost savings: How much money can you save by implementing self-checkouts?

Self-checkout solutions

SIR Solutions is a Canadian leader in point-of-sale software and integrated innovations that has over 25 years of experience developping powerful and innovative tools for retailers of all kinds. Our integrated solutions adapt to your specific needs, products, clients, and activities. We provide clients with continuous support to ensure efficient and strategic operations as well as business growth and results that exceed expectations.


Optimize your store operations