By Epiphany Communications and Coaching*
In 2019, Value Center Market was featured in a Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions story as using new technology for self-checkouts.
Value Center Market, a longtime MIRA member, is a locally owned family grocery store offering great value on the freshest high-quality foods and produce, with four locations throughout southeastern Michigan.
“Toshiba is a global market share leader for integrated in-store retail solutions and is enhancing the customer experience for Value Center grocery shoppers,” said Jason Baylis, president of Great Lakes Data Systems. “The Farida family was our first independent retailer to use our technology about 15 years ago and have since added more technology at their businesses.”
Value Center Market’s focus on customer experience has resulted in improved store revenues and operating efficiency for the Michigan grocer due to the deployment of Toshiba Self-Checkout System units at two store locations, according to the report.
Providing shoppers with a convenient and user-friendly option for completing their purchases, Toshiba’s self-service solutions already account for a significant portion of Value Center Market’s transactions since being installed in 2019.
“Value Center Market is a premium grocer in Southeastern Michigan with great employees who genuinely care about our customers,” Value Center Market owner, Ron Farida, stated in 2019. “Toshiba’s Self-Checkout System solutions have been very well received by our shoppers, while significantly expediting their transactions. Before integrating Toshiba’s self-service technology, we had a single express line, which was continuously backlogged with three or four customers at any one time. With six Toshiba self-service systems, customers now complete their grocery purchase very quickly and the lines keep moving.
Serving as Value Center Market’s express lanes, Toshiba’s Self-Checkout Systems are also immensely popular with store patrons who desire a self-service option. Toshiba self-checkout solutions further enable a more personal shopping journey, while reducing checkout times by allowing Value Center Market customers more control and privacy at the point-of-purchase.
Baylis says self-checkout can also help reduce theft that retailers have been encountering. Organized retail crime (ORC) is running rampant.
A recent National Retail Security Survey shows that total shrinkage reported by retailers has grown to nearly a $100 billion annual problem. In 2021, retailers, on average, saw a 26.5% increase in organized retail crime incidents.
“The key to eliminating theft at the self-checkout is the Shopper Assistant (SA),” said Baylis. “We are implementing self-checkout systems all over the country in retail establishment from small c-stores to large retailers. Having the SA person who is trained to not just oversee self-checkouts but to jump in to fix problems and help keep lines moving, is essential.”
Stores are also installing large TV screens above the self-checkout lanes connected to their DVR, where customers can see themselves ring up their items and pay at the checkout as an added form of security to the SA. “Each time a store associate interacts with the system using the shopper assistant card, the transaction is logged and stored,” said Baylis. “Most theft is not happening at the checkout lanes where many employees are located,” said Baylis. “If a customer wants to steal, it is much easier to shoplift down an aisle then at the checkout counter. The majority of theft that is seen at the checkout is due to personal theft and cashier “sweet-hearting”, where a cashier knowingly allows a customer to steal.”
Value Center Market in Madison Heights has ten self-checkout units that Great Lakes Data Systems has installed. “Hollywood Market in Rochester and Madison Heights have eight self-checkouts each that we installed,” and “we are adding more to Royal Oak soon” said Baylis.
BOSS is the server for the Self-Checkout Unit (SCO). The BOSS reports show the Shopper Assistant lane activities and can be used for exception-based analysis or identifying cashier activities that may be linked to a lack of proper training or other security concerns.
Consumers who use both self-checkout stations and staffed checkout lanes consistently have the highest retention rates and best customer value, bolstering the case for retailers to take a hybrid approach to their front ends, according to a 2022 study from shopper intelligence firm Catalina. The findings are based on an analysis of 4.5 billion transactions made by 245 million consumers in the U.S. in 2021.
The firm also found through a pilot with a regional grocer that self-checkout users who received coupons drove four times more sales growth than the self-checkout lanes with suppressed incentives.
The number of self-checkout lanes in the U.S. has increased by 10% in the last five years, and Catalina estimates that they now make up 38% of the checkout lanes in U.S. grocery chains.
Since the 2020 pandemic, employee retention has decreased. MIRA has reported the challenges members face is finding enough help.
“Self-checkout is also a solution to the employee shortage as well,” said Baylis.
Not only has SCO helped with the cashier shortage, but it has also helped in many other departments as well. SCO allows the stores to redeploy the current work force into areas that may need attention due to the employee shortage.
According to statistics, 93% of all retailers are either already using SCO, have purchased, and waiting to implement SCO or thinking about how they can implement SCO. “It’s a technology that is here to stay and is being implemented in more and more stores across the country.” said Baylis.
*Writers with Epiphany Communications and Coaching are content creators for Bottom Line.