woman doing groceries with a phone in hand

Self service supermarkets: best technologies to implement

Karen Savage

Head of Sales at Anyline

Apr 27, 2022

Since the onset of the pandemic, there has been a lot of focus on creating contactless experiences. A self-service supermarket can offer that to you. Supermarkets have seen the difficulties of the pandemic with increased demand from customers while also struggling with staffing shortages. A self-service supermarket offers an ideal opportunity.

But which solutions are best for turning the average supermarket into a truly self-service retailer?

In this blog, we will examine the advantages and disadvantages of the three main options for self-service supermarkets and answer the following questions:

  1. What is a self-service kiosk?
  2. What is a “vending machine” store?
  3. What is “Scan and Go”?
  4. How can Anyline be integrated?
  5. What are the advantages of mobile scanning solutions?

1. What is a self-service kiosk?

A self-service kiosk allows a consumer to interact directly with the company, receiving service at their convenience. It is the same type of device used for purchasing tickets at a train or bus stop. The consumer approaches, places their order, and then pays. Some quick service restaurants are now incorporating this style of ordering to speed up the process of ordering.

The biggest benefit of this method is that it gives independence to the customer. There’s no waiting in line at the supermarket to check out. Consumers can take their time while scanning purchases without feeling rushed in the process. It also puts distance between customers.

The disadvantage of this method is that it does not recognize the purchased item or may have a technical issue requiring an employee to approach and correct the problem. Consumers may still have to wait in line in some situations for an employee to assist with the process. There is also the risk of shoplifting, as it is hard for employees to know if customers scanned all items.

2. What is a “vending machine” store?

In this method, a person walks into the retailer, which could still look like a traditional supermarket from the outside. But inside, it is filled with walls of vending machines where consumers can click on the item they want and pay for it at that vending machine. The locker opens up to allow the customer to pick up the item after the payment is made.

Vending machines are nothing new – while it might sound incredible, the first vending machines actually date back to 30 A.D! It’s easy to see the benefits of this method. Over the next four years, the industry is expected to grow by over $10 billion. The big advantage is that there is no need for employees to be there to support the sales process. That lets retailers offer extended hours. Click and collect services can also be used to enable shoppers to buy in their own way.

But there are some disadvantages. Smart vending machines have been slow to take off as they require internet connectivity, cameras, touch displays that are quite large, and numerous sensors. That adds to the cost of them. It can also lead to concerns when multiple people are touching the same surface, creating a risk during the pandemic.

4. What are the advantages of mobile scanning solutions?

Customer satisfaction

There are no limits to the level of customer service here. Capgemini’s Smart Stores report that consumers do not want to stand in long lines when making payment. A self-service solution, then, works well.

Consumers remain in control

Customers like being in charge. They are demanding more self-checkout solutions in supermarkets. That allows them to play an active role in the checkout process. It allows consumers to make their own decisions when making payment, too.

Resource allocation

Customers are becoming the cashiers themselves. That means supermarkets can better allocate their employees. Instead of numerous checkout stations, one or two people oversee the checkout process.