Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Convenience Trumps Impulse Capitalism

Image Credit: Fujitsu Transaction Solutions - USCAN

It turns out that when shoppers are into a pure "Hunter/Gatherer" mode of shopping (ie. get in - get it - and, get out), the impulse nature of decision shopping drops dramatically.

You know what you want and you run to the store to get the items, where do you choose to checkout and get on with your day? The self-checkout station, that's where. A place where there is elbow room, no racks to bump into, and a quick turn-around conclusion to your short shopping experience ... after all, you have better things to do.

This self-checkout thing has become a real problem to retailers, however. Now, some of us will not even shop in a store unless they offer a self-checkout option!

This from the New York Post -

By SUZANNE KAPNER - New York Post - July 25, 2006

Self-checkout aisles at supermarkets dramatically reduce impulse purchases of items like chocolates and magazines, a new study reveals.

Shoppers make last-minute purchases 45 percent less often when they use automated checkout machines, as opposed to waiting for a cashier to check them out, according to IHL Consulting Group.

The drop in impulse purchases was greater for women (50 percent), than for men (27.9 percent), according to IHL, which polled 533 people to determine their shopping habits.

IHL analyst Greg Buzek warned that companies like Hershey's, Wrigley's and Pepsico, which make many of the products that line supermarket check-out lanes, could face a drop in sales unless they figure out a way to better appeal to time-strapped consumers.

Some supermarket chains like Kroger and Meijer have addressed changing consumer behavior by adding items like rotisserie chicken and fresh baked breads to the front of stores, to entice shoppers through their sense of smell, as opposed to simply using visual displays, Buzek noted.

In 2005, consumers spent more than $110.9 billion in self-checkout transactions at retailers, up 35 percent from the prior year, IHL said.

However nearly 30 percent of respondents said they preferred cashiers, opting to only use self-checkout when lanes staffed by employees had long lines.

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Have Scanner ... Will Shop!

1 comment:

Will said...

Grocery Self Checkout

In a previous life(not so long ago) you went to the grocery store and a HUMAN BEING checked your items, put them in bags and placed them into your cart. Some stores appear to be going too far away from this. It pisses me off! I no longer shop at these stores.

I will focus on my local grocery situation though I now refuse to shop at Home Depot for the same reason.

In my town of Fishers, Indiana, there are three grocery chains nearby that I will talk about. They are Krogers, Marsh and Target. Krogers has 2 stores that are closer than the rest. At first, Krogers was the obvious choice to spend my money. However, too many times I pack my cart to the gills with groceries and then have to wait in line 5 deep at the one open human checkout for an extended time. I have been told by store personnel that the self check line is open. This has been told to me in lieu of opening another human checkout line. You must be kidding me? What happened to customer service?

OK, OK, I must have it all wrong. Lets see how this plays out logically. You get the privilege of checking, bagging and placing into the cart all $250 worth of groceries...... YOURSELF! All this for a discount right? No, that is wrong. You get to provide this service for yourself at the same cost!!! That's right the same service that has always been provided you get to perform.

So what to do. Check out the competition.

I have visited the competitors locally. Many offer self check options. However, Marsh and Target routinely provide more human checkers. For some reason Target always has checkers ready to go. How do they do that? I now drive past Krogers every day and spend my money elsewhere.

The above is just a glimpse of my view of shopping where I live. It is merely my opinion. My fear is that this practice will be pushed throughout the industry leaving no alternatives. I hope that you will speak up if you share this opinion.