Love it or Hate it: The Pros and Cons of Self-Checkout Kiosks

Salesman at the checkout in a bookstore

We are seeing more and more retailers integrate self-checkouts into their store environment. It took a while for customers to familiarize themselves with self-checkouts and now they are here to stay. Are self-checkout kiosks right for your store?


Self-Checkout stations take up less space. Resellers know all too well that retail space is money, with self-checkouts stores can take care of customer transactions while using minimal square footage. The typical cashier station is equivalent to five self-service kiosks! 1

Increase efficiency and speed of checkout. Maintaining a reputation of good service and a fast checkout line will give your store an advantage over your competitors. Students can quickly make their purchases before heading to class.

It is cost effective. A major selling point for self-checkouts is that it reduces the need for cashiers. One cashier is able to monitor numerous checkout stations instead of one. Self-checkouts also create room for better customer service; less cashiers behind the register translates to more employees on the sales floor.

People like it. Some shoppers like the convenience of completing the checkout process on their own, especially if they are purchasing personal products. Consumers like having options, by giving the shopper a choice whether or not they wish to interact with a cashier or purchase items on their own can yield positive results.

Fear of theft. Although most stores are equipped with security systems to prevent shoplifting, self-checkouts may increase the likelihood of theft. An easy way to combat this is to have an attendant monitoring the self-checkout kiosk.

Potential technical issues. Many students are technologically savvy and can navigate their way through the self-checkout POS system. Difficulty can arise when barcodes and coupons are not scanning properly or when customers need extra assistance. Also keep in mind non-native English speakers, international students, and elder students may need extra assistance.

Human contact is important. For some shoppers having the opportunity to interact with a cashier adds to the in-store experience. Using new unfamiliar technology can ward off customers, so always make sure you give them the option to see a cashier or use a self-checkout kiosk.

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