The age of self-checkout has arrived. As commodification makes it difficult for retailers to stand out in their category, retailers are looking to strengthen sales and brand stickiness with immersive, seamless customer experiences in their stores. And nothing creates more friction than long checkout lines.
It’s no wonder that 40% of U.S. retailers think their customers would switch retailers if ‘scan-and go’ technology were not provided.
But to get self-checkout right, retailers can’t stop at half-way solutions such as self-checkout kiosks, which are rarely truly self-service and can leave customers with a headache.
Retailers need to meet their customers where they are – on their mobile phones – and provide physical checkout experiences that are as frictionless and intuitive as ecommerce checkout.
That’s why Nexite created the first EAS secure, truly frictionless mobile self-checkout.
Read below to learn what mobile self-checkout is, how it works, and how businesses can use it to boost store staff efficiency while keeping their customers happy and their merchandise secure.
WATCH: The Mobile Self-Checkout Experience ↓
5 reasons to offer mobile self-checkout:
- Intuitive ‘scan and go’ – Nexite’s NanoBT tags transmit data via bluetooth and are compatible with any bluetooth device. no kiosk or bin needed; all shoppers need is the retailer’s app and a mobile phone that can point and scan the products they want to buy.
- Frictionless and efficient – customers can purchase an item as they hold it in their hands, and even continue to shop, eliminating the hassle of checkout lines.
- Operational efficiency – store associates can replace time at checkout with better clienteling for customers that want personalized service
- All-in-one tag: Nexite’s tag serves as the security as well – no more bulky plastic tags to manually cut off before you exit the store.
- Omnichannel – Offer a consistent omnichannel retail experience wherever you meet your customers.
The Self Checkout Landscape
Self checkout is everywhere. It has been adopted in multiple markets, including fashion retail, and is gradually becoming the norm in many stores. The global self-checkout market is expected to grow from USD 3.87 billion in 2022 to 10.50 billion by 2030.
What customers want
66% of consumers believe that automation can improve their shopping experience, according to Shopify. Younger shoppers (think Gen Z and some millennials ) often prefer to shop in a store without interacting with store associates.
Consumer adoption of self-checkout solutions in general is strongly affected by e-commerce experiences. Customers overall enjoy browsing and shopping in person, but want the same level of availability and convenience that they’re use to when shopping and checkout out online.
That’s one of the main reasons retailers are considering self checkout: partly because of these customer expectations, and partly to reduce labor costs. But instead of enhancing the shopping experience as it was destined to, self checkout as it’s used today is often as frustrating and inefficient as regular checkout.
The Challenges of Self Checkout
Customers expect self-checkouts to be fast and convenient, but they often find themselves queuing in lines anyways, which creates double the frustration and disappointment.
Once they reach the counter, customers may discover a machine that’s out of order. Other times they start the checkout process, only to have the machine malfunction.
Self-checkout can be frustrating in many other ways – from problems with barcodes to bagging efforts, and from kiosk cameras and video surveillance to too many errors.
The truth is that most self checkout machines are not really autonomous and demand the support of store staff for technological issues, maintenance, and supervision.
Today’s self-checkout solutions usually take the form of kiosks or bins, triggered by QR codes or RFID tags. This in-store technology usually requires investment in expensive kiosks that take up space on the retail floor – and floor space costs money.
Also, having customers scan and bag their items can theoretically save time for store associates, but it doesn’t completely work. All too often, they must stop and ask for assistance from store staff.
Even when self-checkout saves on labor costs, retailers incur losses due to more unintentional errors and much more shoplifting at self-checkouts compared to cashiers.
Security and theft issues
Reducing shrinkage or shrinkage is a big priority for retailers, and for good reason: the most recent study by the National Retail Federation places the cost of lost retail inventory in 2021 at nearly $94.5 billion, nearly a $4B YoY increase.
Shoplifting leads to revenue losses, and the evidence shows that most self-checkout don’t reduce the risk of shoplifting. In 2022, for example, the New York Times reported that supermarket chain Wegmans is discontinuing its self-checkout app due to theft issues.
Data suggested that a store in which 55 to 60 percent of transactions go through self-checkout can expect losses to be 31 percent higher.
Next-Generation mobile self checkout
Nexite’s patented tags and advanced in-store technology helps fashion brands create a better checkout experience: seamless, frictionless, contactless.
With the Nexite battery-free tag, every item is automatically secure, eliminating the need for any other security tag. When customers are ready to pay, they can click ‘check out’ on their device and choose a form of payment.
How It Works
Retailers can easily integrate Nexite’s Mobile ‘Scan & Go’ Self-Checkout to their customer-facing apps via API.
Using it is simple and intuitive:
- Customers scan the item they’re looking at
- The app provides product information, including which additional sizes and colors are available for that style in the store.
- Customers can select ‘checkout’, choose a payment method, and finish the purchase in a few clicks.
- The moment the item is purchased, the tag’s EAS is disabled and customers can just walk out of the store or continue shopping.
Security and anti-theft
Nexite’s mobile self-checkout helps with loss prevention by preventing theft and signaling attempted theft to stores before items reach the gate.
Most fashion stores have electronic surveillance (EAS) systems, complete with tags attached to the products for anti-theft security. But even the most advanced self-checkout kiosks using existing EAS tags require removal by store staff or by the customers themselves (who may damage the item in the process).
Nexite’s EAS-enabled NanoBT tag is a retail anti-theft solution controlled by the cloud. The tags work with existing EAS gates and infrastructure in retail stores. These systems use magnetic fields for localization and a higher level of reliability than what can be reached by radio frequency.
Most retailers have reactive systems in place for theft – the alarm is triggered only when someone is leaving the store. Nexite’s solution can identify attempted theft while the merchandise is still in the store. That gives stores the opportunity to send employees to the dressing room for greater surveillance, or to ask the person if they need help, deterring a potential thief.
Secure Mobile Checkout - How It Works:
- Customers purchase an item via a store’s mobile app, integrated with Nexite’s Mobile checkout.
- Once the item is purchased, the POS sends a notification to disable the , the tag’s EAS.
- When the customer approaches the store entrance, the item’s NanoBT tag senses the EAS security gate and actively transmits a ‘gate’ signal.
- Nexite’s Platform identifies whether or not the item was purchased. If the item is marked as ‘sold’, no alarm is triggered, and the customer exits the store.
- If a customer walks out of the store without paying for one or more items, the system triggers whichever alarm or notification the retailer chooses to put in place – from loud sirens, to instant alerts to employees – all within a split second, and all before the person has made it to the exit
And what if someone takes off the tag before leaving the store? The Nexite tag has an anti-tamper mechanism; if it is removed before purchase, it will transmit a ‘tamper’ signal that triggers an alarm, creating an extra layer of security.
Contactless Returns are just as frictionless. The customer walks in, places the item/s at the designated return location, and receives a notification that the item has been returned.
Mobile BOPIS – The patented tags are part of Nexite’s Connected Retail Platform and can power omnichannel fulfillment methods like BOPIS or click & collect, fusing online shopping with in-store experiences.
RFID self checkout
Rfid self checkout usually refers to products with item-level RFID tags, which customers scan at a self-checkout kiosk or bin. The reader in the checkout machine scans the rfid tag on the item (usually a hang tag or embedded into the regular price tag). These items often have a separate security tag that has to be manually removed before shoppers can leave the store.
RFID self checkout vs. mobile self checkout with Nexite
RFID self-checkout kiosks are actually a misnomer. If a store associate has to be present to help customers with complex checkout dashboards, or to remove security tags, is it really self-checkout?
To truly call itself frictionless self-checkout, a solution has to be intuitive and easy for users, and eliminate reliance on store staff.
Self Checkout In Chain Stores Vs. Luxury Fashion Retail
Luxury stores have less traffic than mass-market retailers, and shoppers are more likely to favor a more high-end experience: personalized, exclusive, and curated to their needs.
Luxury fashion retail should be about personalized experiences where they matter. Frictionless mobile self checkout does not replace personalized customer service, but enhances it with product information, personalized content, and authentication empowered by state-of-the-art technology.
Mobile self-checkout and connected stores
To be both valuable and cost-effective, self-checkout should never be treated as a stand-alone solution.
Optimizing profitability from the physical retail footprint requires a top-down strategy that addresses everything from creating immersive retail experiences, to store staff efficiency and retention, to better store inventory control and loss prevention.
Nexite’s new features span across important integrations, from mobile self-checkout to staff task management that gives retailers detailed, real-time visibility into stock count on the item level across the chain.
These solutions for retail stores allow for optimized store efficiency, inventory management that goes beyond RFID’s current abilities, cost reduction, increased localization, and better understanding of how customers are interacting with merchandise at the local store level.
They also address the current challenges around retail employee retention through its ability to empower store associates with the automated tools they need to eliminate tedious, manual tasks (because store staff don’t enjoy checkout any more than your customers do).
The Future of Self Checkout
The future of physical retail is in immersive, omnichannel experiences. This has placed even more importance on retail technology that can power better customer experiences while supporting operational excellence for retailers.
Nexite’s NanoBT-enabled solutions – including Connected Merchandise, Connected Stores and Connected Operations – are enabling digital transformation across the retail organization. Using customer behavior data and ai-based insights, Nexite is empowering retailers to offer a reimagined and fully connected retail experience.