Why do non-food stores need a self-service organization?

    Why do self-service systems introduce not only grocery, but also non-food stores? How many self-service technologies are effective in the non-food segment? (Spoiler: three) Who will not benefit from these innovations? Look for answers to these and other questions in our article.

    What is a non-food segment and why is it not easy

    Non-food includes retailers who, as the name of the segment transparently hints, sell non-food products. Behind this broad definition can be hidden, for example, clothing stores, shoes, children's, construction goods, pet products, household appliances, electronics, bookstores.

    In order not to get confused in this variety, the non-food segment has a conditional gradation. Allocate:

    • DIY (do it yourself, “do it yourself”) - stores of goods for construction, repair;

    • BTiE - household appliances and electronics;

    • fashion - clothing, footwear and accessories stores;

    • beauty - cosmetics, perfumes;

    • drogerie - stores whose assortment is represented by household chemicals, hygiene products, household goods, a small amount of perfumery and cosmetics. It essentially combines beauty and household;

    • household - household goods.

    Bookstores, jewelry, flower, furniture stores and children's goods stores stand apart.

    Representatives of the non-food segment are united by the fact that their range largely consists of pre-selection products (as opposed to the food segment). Such products are carefully chosen by buyers, comparing with the offers of other stores. And for their sake, they are ready to put up with inconveniences: for example, to plan a special trip to a point of sale, where the right product at a reasonable price is definitely available.

    At the same time, the acquisition of clothing and household appliances ceases to be such an event as it was before. Now such purchases are made more often and easier, so the struggle for the customer goes not only on the assortment and price field, but also on the service, including cash.

    Question: what to do? Each retailer solves the problem of attracting and retaining customers in his own way. Someone introduces, develops loyalty programs (we wrote about this here , here and here ), someone regularly conducts marketing campaigns (talked about them here and here ), someone wants an omnichannel (wrote here ), and someone meticulously working to improve the quality of service. Moreover, systematic efforts in this direction go hand in hand with cost optimization. And at that very moment retailers think about introducing self-service technologies.

    Self-service systems were most widely used at grocery stores (they wrote about this hereand here ). And, for sure, you yourself have repeatedly used there Self-Checkout or now becoming a fashionable technology for self-scanning (Self Scanning).

    But the time has come to expand the horizons. Self-service systems perfectly fit into non-food retail conditions, solving such tasks posed by the business as:

    • reduction of queues;

    • organization of modern service formats (including for customers who prefer to minimize communication with staff) and improve their quality;

    • redeployment of personnel;

    • flexible work with consumer traffic throughout the day and week;

    • lower operating costs.

    What self-service technologies are most applicable in non-food

    There are five main technologies of self-service, which allow to solve the problems stated above. However, they have no logical restrictions related to the characteristics of the product itself, working with customers or the method of sale.

    • self -checkout counter;

    • transformable self-service cash desk (2 in 1 - Self-Checkout + hybrid cash desk).

    But, as we already detailed at the very beginning of the article, in the non-food segment, three of them are most applicable - self-checkout (Self-Checkout), separate scanning (Scan & Pay) and independent scanning (Self Scanning). But this is only the basis that can be combined, receiving many effective options.

    Self-Checkout cash registers are convenient for customers with small baskets and allow working with short peaks of visitors traffic without increasing the number of cashiers. This technology is also in demand among people who prefer not to communicate with the staff of the outlet. And where we can use Self-Checkout, a transformable cash register can be used almost everywhere.

    Separate scanning (Scan & Pay) can significantly increase the throughput of the cash line and the speed of service. In this case, the cashier becomes a scanner, without wasting time accepting payment. And buyers independently pay at the payment terminals.

    Self Scanning is relevant when a retailer wants to demonstrate customer loyalty and trust. In this case, he either offers the client to scan goods on the trading floor with his own mobile device by installing the store application on him. Or authorized customers in the loyalty program are issued with personal scanners (TSD) equipped with the same application. After the scan is completed, a person can pay for the purchase at the payment terminal or in the mobile application. To confirm the fact of payment, it is enough for the buyer to present a QR code from the check or screen of the mobile device.

    Often retailers combine different self-service technologies using their common infrastructure.

    How self-service technologies are introduced

    For example, consider a hardware store. Often, three types of buyers visit these points of sale:

    • those who need to purchase something spontaneously, for example, before going to the country. Such buyers usually have few items in their cart;

    • those who purchase a lot of goods, for example, for repairs in the apartment;

    • professional builders / superintendents purchasing goods in quantities not intended even for a freight trolley.

    For the first category of customers it is convenient to organize an express zone with Self-Checkout. Then, holding a pack of screws and a flower pot, they will not have to stand in line for people with full carts of goods.

    To provide quality service to the second category of store visitors, it is reasonable to implement a separate scanning system in it. The operator will quickly scan the goods, which then will need to be independently paid at the payment terminal.

    The third category of buyers differs from the previous ones in that professional builders purchase a very large volume of goods and they rarely need advice. However, they do not plan to put anything in a trolley - such customers require delivery of the order. Therefore, in this case, it is logical to propose an independent scan. The buyer selects the desired product from the samples, indicates its quantity. And after placing the order, the option of transferring goods to the delivery service is available.

    Where self-care doesn’t take root

    Now let's talk about which retailers the introduction of self-service is not worth recommending:

    • jewelry stores, luxury boutiques - their range is not suitable for self-service for security reasons. In addition, customers of such stores most often prefer personalized service;

    • stores selling difficult to identify and similar products. For example, points of sale of cosmetics and household chemicals.

    What kind of rake can one step upon when introducing self-service

    The biggest mistake in introducing self-service technologies is the lack of specific goals for using their advantages and ideas about the expected results that need to be achieved.

    The second is to miss that the introduction of one or more self-service systems will require costs for the associated infrastructure, the introduction of new requirements for the work of staff and the revision of existing business processes.

    Third, the lack of a plan to engage buyers in the use of new technologies:
    poor organization of the input / output zone, tips and booklets on how to use the system and what are its advantages.

    In order to choose the most effective self-service technology correctly, you need to analyze a large amount of information. Assess the number of checks, goods in them, customer traffic by days and hours, distribution of cash and cashless payments, identify peak loads and calculate the performance of the target system. The solution of such a problem without the experience of operating such systems and understanding their features is a difficult task. Therefore, it is important to find a competent integrator who will solve it.

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