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12 month Study on Self Checkout

 shows that Shrink is not an issue!
When properly managed

Article submitted by Derek Rodner, VP, Marketing & Product Strategy

While recent news has focused on growing losses arising from the use of self checkout lanes, a 12 month sample of data across 26 customers and nearly 1000 self checkout lanes shows that properly managed self-checkout lanes are a benefit to both consumers and retailers. Agilence, the leader in POS Video Auditing, has been advising retailers on the best practices for self checkout for many years and helping develop solutions to counter any issues as they occur.

The evidence from our auditing across multiple chains shows that self-checkout can actually have far less shrink than the manned checkout lanes. In addition to providing incidents to our customers, we perform a root cause analysis to determine what factors lead to losses. At the self-checkout, our analysis proves it all comes down to the SCO podium clerk.

Consider these actual results for one Agilence customer who was experiencing high transaction cancels at self-checkout. Over the course of a single month, our auditing found that their SCO podiums were unmanned 70% of the time. When a transaction was cancelled, 75% of the time the customer left without purchasing anything (a serious customer service issue), the other 25% of the time, the customer walked out with the product!

Another example demonstrating the importance of a properly manned podium to the success of SCO is found in the table below.

• Grocer A had 22% podium coverage resulting in a weekly SCO loss of $1,340.

• Grocer B had 81% coverage and a weekly SCO loss of only $130.

  Grocer A          Grocer B
Number of SCO Transactions              3,655 3,570
Average Transaction Value $33 $30
Podium Coverage 22% 81%
Void-Cancel Percent 3.3% 1.0%
Weekly Walkout Loss $395 $33
Weekly Abandoned Orders $995 $97
Per Store Total SCO Loss $1,340 $130

We found that too many times, the store was understaffed and the self-checkout podium clerk was pulled away to do other tasks. But, its more than just putting a body at the self-checkout. The person working the self-checkout must be a senior person. They must be able to multi-task and they must engage the customers coming through self-checkout. Majority of the time frustration leads to customers walking away when SCO lanes are not properly staffed. We have found that if the podium clerk simply says hello to the customer and engages them for even a few seconds, the customer is far less likely to steal. In fact, in our analysis, engaging a customer directly and making eye contact reduces theft even more than a public view monitor.

Next, the podium clerks too often never look at the alarms and simply clear them. They need to question the alarm quickly. Do a very quick analysis and then clear the alarm. In fact, our best practices show that podium clerks should even go over to the customer and help them scan if they are having an issue and pay attention to what is happening.

When a podium clerk understands the importance of their role, when they are able to multi-task and when they engage the customer the self-checkout becomes a profit center for the retailer and a pleasant experience for the customer.

Don't get rid of your self-checkout. Staff them properly.

For more information contact: Pedro Ramos, VP Sales at 856-366-1200

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