Customers find self-checkout machines frustrating and difficult to use. Frequent need for attendant assistance has created an experience that actually takes longer than a traditional checkout line. Supermarket managers find that these kiosks have a large, inflexible footprint, and employees find that the kiosk layout is difficult to manage and creates highly inefficient walking patterns.
A complete report of our research process, customer interviews, and findings can be found here.
Customer / End-User
We observed and interviewed customers as they used self-checkout machines, and found that they often incorrectly perceive them to be faster.
Clerks told us that they prefer to work a traditional checkout aisle to avoid the constant need to be moving around self-checkout layouts.
Store managers told us that although popular, self-checkout is bottle-necked by purchase authorizations, user error, and attendant availability
In our design thinking we sought to bring the clerk closer to the customer service touch points we identified, thereby minimizing the time spent commuting between machines. Our solution places the clerk central to the customers by arranging the kiosks in a panopticon layout. In addition to increasing clerk efficiency, this system allows a clerk to service several customers at once from the comfort of a stool, rather than requiring they be on their feet for a full shift. The panopticon layout also serves to reduce theft by putting all customers within direct line-of-sight of the clerk. Our units are also modular, giving businesses the freedom to cater their self-checkout areas to their particular store layout. In order to reduce the need for clerk interactions we have simplified the software UI, relocated the payment components, and eliminated the bagging area scale entirely. No more “unrecognized item in bagging area” error that many users complained about.