Your shop or business in the retail, food or hospitality sector is changing. Developments are arriving rapidly in the field of self-service, and your customers are increasingly taking control. This opens up opportunities, provided you respond correctly. In this blog, we’ll help you to get started.

Entrepreneurs are increasingly choosing to hand over control to their customers. Self-check in, scanning or ordering products, self-service, self-checkout; customers are increasingly doing more and more for themselves.

Customer convenience is at the core of self-service. Consumers expect to be able to manage things easily for themselves. As a store, you can capitalise on this. Here are eight tips for high-quality self-service.

1. Ensure visibility

If you are moving to self-service, such as a self-scan checkout or kiosk, present it as your new default. Give it a central and clearly visible place in your store or hospitality company. Far too often, regular checkouts are combined with self-service devices and the logical flow ends at the regular checkout. The kiosk or self-checkout is not visible and so is used less often. The more prominently self-service is positioned, the more customers will be encouraged to start using it.

2. Easy to use, for all

Cashiers often receive full training on how to use the cash register. Customers don’t. It’s therefore important to keep your self-service as simple and self-evident as possible. Give products logical names, have easy-to-see buttons, functional sounds and bright colours. Also make sure that your cash registers can be used by everyone, such as by customers who speak a different language or have a disability. Everyone should be able to create and pay their own receipts without any need for explanation.

3. Provide assistance

With self-service, customers don’t necessarily need store staff. This is an important benefit to you as an entrepreneur, as you can then deploy your scarce staff elsewhere. But: there must always be someone around who can provide help when needed. A bad self-service experience is dire. Therefore, make sure that your customers can always call in an employee for help, and that they are quickly at hand. This can be done, for example, by giving employees a PDA to receive a message whenever a customer asks for help. The best customer experience is still crucial, even during self-service.

4. Performance is key

Make sure that your self-service always works as well as possible. This sounds like an easy target, but it’s not. To start with the word “always”, you have the option of fully connecting your self-service tills to the cloud for all transactions. But what do you do if something breaks down? Or if the wrong cable accidentally gets cut somewhere in the neighbourhood? You don’t want the whole of your self-service system to go down.

Therefore, make sure that everything can also work offline. Choosing a hybrid option anyway also improves performance. Scanning shopping is faster if you retrieve the information locally than if you need to download all the details of each item or promotion from the cloud each time. A connection to the cloud should always be in place for synchronisation, but make sure that the critical processes in your store don’t depend on it.

5. Pick up on behaviour

A customer is standing at the self-service till to check out a torch. A message appears on the checkout screen: Did you remember to buy batteries? These batteries are located next to the tills. The customer sees the message, picks up the batteries and adds them directly to their basket.

You can respond efficiently like this to a customer’s purchases at a self-checkout. With a self-scan “gun”, you can do much better: show suggestions or extras based on a scanned item. Or even where to go in the store to find the products you need for your recipe or that may be missing from your shopping list. This makes self-service an ideal tool for you to cross-sell and upsell.

6. Check without being annoying

Of course, you want to keep losses under control. Random checks are often used, but if you do them too often, they will irritate customers. Use the latest technologies, such as smart cameras combined with AI, to make sure you only need to carry out a check when there is a really suspicious situation.

7. Take a step towards self-ordering

In addition to the self-checkout scanners and the self-scan tills, self-ordering is now also on the rise. It is growing in popularity, especially in the food and hospitality sector. You can offer this with a self-ordering kiosk in your hospitality business or, for example, with a QR code at your table. Want an extra cup of coffee? Just scan the QR code, pay online and the coffee is delivered to your table. Even with self-ordering, simplicity of use is crucial: the customer must find their products quickly and clearly on the order column or after scanning the QR code. Pay attention to the audio-visual and audio aspects so that everyone can order and pay without any problems. Also ensure your solution is integrated with both checkout and order kiosk so that the items, prices and promotions are the same everywhere.

8. Experiment

So many people, so many different wishes. Not everyone is eager for self-service or for a certain form of it. To start with, make sure that your software vendor can offer different options. This prevents you from having to negotiate multiple supplier agreements and pay high upfront costs before you even know which approach will work. Decide in advance how you want to measure success, apply the solutions in various combinations and evaluate their success.

Want to know more about what self-service can offer?

Our Ctac specialists will be happy to help you. Contact our Unified Commerce specialist Ivo van der Raad.

Please contact our experts.