- Macey’s, which operates 12 stores in Utah, has partnered with the Skip Checkout app to allow customers to scan items with their mobile phones, then pay with a pre-registered card when they’re done, according to a company release.
- Participating stores offer a special Skip Checkout lane where shoppers can bag their groceries before they leave.
- The checkout-free service is currently available at five Macey’s stores. The retailer also offers online shopping and curbside pickup at all 12 of its locations.
At a time when shoppers can order products at the click of a button, many don’t have the patience to stand in line. According to a recent Harris poll, 88% of shoppers say they want in-store checkouts to run faster. Half of those surveyed pointed to long lines and slow lanes as their top two hang-ups with the grocery shopping experience.
Amazon has offered one solution to the checkout problem with its Go concept. But most retailers don’t have the technical wizardry and resources to match that (and given recent technical glitches that are delaying the opening of its Seattle store, even Amazon is struggling with the concept).
Thankfully for grocers, there are more accessible ways to expedite checkout. Chains like Kroger and Whole Foods have sped up their checkout lanes over the years through initiatives like staff training and queuing technology. Others, like Sam’s Club, have introduced mobile scanning and payment options that let shoppers skip the lines altogether. Target’s new store prototype calls for handheld checkout devices that employees carry with them as they walk the store, allowing the company to still interact with shoppers as they process their payment.
As Macey’s proves, revolutionizing checkout isn’t just something large companies are doing. Mobile checkout technology is affordable, and can help independent stores and small chains stand out from their competitors. In fact, the first grocer to offer checkout-free payments wasn’t Amazon or another industry behemoth — it was California Fresh Market, a three-store operation that unveiled a mobile payment app last year.
Speeding up and even getting rid of checkouts can lead to happy customers. But there may be some trade-offs. Checkouts are a prime spot for impulse purchases, which grocers have long relied on. Also, customers value the human interaction they get at the checkout counter. A recent survey from tech firm Interactions revealed that most customers want a faster checkout experience, but 60% also said they want someone to greet them. In many cases, cashiers are the only human interaction customers have while shopping. A simple, “How are you?” can go a surprisingly long way.