CHICAGO — More convenience stores are implementing self-checkout kiosks and other alternative checkout options since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dash-In, a chain of more than 50 stores based in La Plata, Md., has been testing a self-checkout kiosk from point-of-sale (POS) provider NCR, based in Atlanta, and representatives from the companies spoke at the 2021 NACS Show in Chicago about lessons learned during the tests. Sammy Gupta, product manager for Dash-In, and Matthew Miller, global solutions manager for NCR, walked conference attendees through their findings.
- Dash-In, a chain privately held by the Wills Group, is No. 119 in CSP’s 2021 Top 202 ranking of c-stores by store count.
As with any implementation of new technology, Gupta said there were challenges and lessons to be learned. When Dash-In began the self-checkout kiosk tests, operators and employees weren’t well trained with troubleshooting the kiosks. “One thing we did have to change is how we’re engaging with our associates during their training,” said Gupta. Now Dash-In is building a two-day training program in which employees can learn the system in a lab setting.
Gupta said age-restricted sales are “a little bit of a pain point,” as employees need to be present and ready to help customers with age-restricted purchases as one would at a traditional checkout. “We’re really interested in how NCR is going to attack this moving forward.”
If anything, said Miller, shrinkage decreases with the installation of self-checkout kiosks. “Consumers always feel like they’re being watched. For some reason they are less likely to steal in a self-checkout circumstance,” he said.
One conference attendee asked Gupta if Dash-In had seen a reduction in labor hours for staff working in the store due to the kiosk installation. Gupta said stores saw “a lot of repurposing” of labor hours and noted that one store testing the kiosk hired more staff during the test.
Miller said that stores implementing the NCR self-checkout kiosks can program upsell messaging into the POS.
When asked about the return on investment on the device, Gupta said the benefits of the kiosk are difficult to measure, but that he and his team are satisfied with the kiosk’s performance so far.