As some retailers back away from self-checkout lanes, a new survey indicates this technology is highly favored by shoppers.
Empathica Inc., a leading provider of customer experience management solutions to some of the world’s most respected brands, announced the results of its 2011 consumer insights panel survey of more than 16,000 consumers.
The survey asked consumers which technologies they value most in their grocery experience, and how their expectations are being met by grocery stores across the United States and Canada. Results showed self-checkouts ranked as the No. 1 technology that enhances consumers’ overall shopping experience.
Half of consumers indicated that an easy-to-use grocery website is also important. But despite its importance, a third of consumers say websites only “sometimes” (28.8 percent) or “never” meet their expectations (4.1 percent).
Here are the top grocery store technologies that consumers value, from most important to least important:
1. Self checkouts
2. Easy-to-use website
3. Kiosks offering product information, coupons, recipes, etc.
4. Electronic offers sent via email or mobile device
5. Wireless access within store
While self checkout enhances Americans’ overall shopping experience, this contrasts with what Canadian consumers report. When evaluating grocery technologies, 65 percent of U.S. consumers considered self checkouts important, compared to only 54 percent of Canadian consumers. In fact, more than half of Canadians said self checkouts were “not applicable” in their grocery experience, indicating that not all Canadian grocers have this option available in stores.
“Brands have the opportunity to differentiate themselves from competitors by implementing the technologies consumers look for when choosing a grocery store,” said Brian Jones, Empathica VP of grocery and consumer packaged goods. “As technology continues to evolve, stores need to consider new grocery store enhancements, and how they’ll improve the overall grocery experience for shoppers.”
The Empathica Consumer Insights Panel survey also revealed some differences between men and women when it comes to grocery store technology. Fifty-one percent of women said they value grocery store’s electronic product offers sent via e-mail or a mobile device versus 46 percent of men. Further, a majority of women (57 percent) said an easy-to-use website ultimately influences their overall customer experience; 51 percent of men consider websites important, according to survey results.
“The Empathica Insights Panel found that technology will increasingly be a requirement for delivering a differentiated customer experience,” Jones said. “Because of this, grocers need to think about their customer-facing technology strategy, and link that back to their customer segmentations. Otherwise, the implications for the perception of the grocery experience among certain segments of their customer base can be considerable.”
The study revealed that 80 percent of consumers age 18-24 said grocery technology was an important factor in their grocery shopping experience. But this percentage declined consistently across each age range; 44.5 percent of those over 65 expressed the same sentiments.
“As the younger generations get older, they will put pressure on grocery stores to deliver on their expectations for service, and in doing so, will reward them with their loyalty,” Jones said.
An earlier Empathica survey during Wave 3 2010, reported that 78 percent of North Americans ranked supermarkets and grocery stores as the most successful industry in its efforts to leverage technology. Other industries falling lower on the list included fast food and casual dining restaurants, department stores and hotels.
For the latest Empathica Insights Panel survey findings, visit www.empathica.com/insights.
Ontario-based Empathica provides customer experience management programs to more than 200 of the world’s leading brands, ranging from multi-unit retailers to banks and restaurants.
Perspective on decision by Albertsons to go without self-checkout.
Jack Loftus — Major grocery chains like Albertson's are eliminating self-checkout aisles at their various locations because management claims they're too impersonal. What a crock. That's a polite way of saying some people are simply ill-equipped to use them efficiently.
Having lived where I live for about six years now, I have never once interacted with a person at my local supermarket, which is a Shaw's. Why bother? I know where everything is, what my habits are, and that I want to get in there and out as quickly as possible.
Now, there is nothing even remotely remarkable about this Shaw's, save for the fact that, long ago, the management decided to install four self-checkout kiosks. For a guy like me, who enjoys shopping daily with what friends have told me is a snooty "European style" (i.e. just the items I need for dinner that night), these kiosks are just the thing I need to get in, check my items, pay, and get out fairly quickly. For the 15 Items of Less crowd, these breezy aisles are perfection (When I look at supermarket futurism porn it looks exactly like this subway station, if that helps clarify my thought food shopping thought process a bit more).
To be fair, these machines are imperfect. Sometimes the software crashes. Sometimes the software is slow, almost as if it, too, has been broken by the monotony of scanning some yuppie's Bon Apetite magazine-seasonally suggested kumquat for the umpteenth time. In this regard they are very much like their human being counterparts, so why complain about removing them, right?
Well, my natural inclination to be a snobby tech asshole aside (Biddle can relate, right?), these glitches are rare, and even with them the the kiosks will inevitably save the companies that employ them about "minimum wage/hour," don't get sick, don't get tired and don't complain. Most importantly, they save customers time. That is, they save time until some Luddite comes along and throws a wrench in the works.
Here's a brief list of the situations that I've seen during six years of extensive self-checkout usage and research in the field that have probably led to Albertson's pulling the plug:
Walmarts in Pennsylvania to get wine dispensing kiosks
You might be able to pick up a bottle of wine along with your groceries, socks and video games this summer.
Two local Walmart stores are in line to open wine kiosks.
The stores on the Lincoln Highway East and on East Main Street in Ephrata Township are among 24 Walmart stores in Pennsylvania that have been approved as possible locations for the kiosks, said Stacey Witalec, spokeswoman for the state Liquor Control Board.
Contracts for the kiosks still need to be finalized, which could take a few months, she said.
Managers at the two Walmarts said they either had not received notification about the kiosks or referred calls to public relations officials with the store's corporate office in Bentonville, Ark.
Jason Klipa, a company spokesman, said no specific launch date has been set for the kiosks, which expand the products the stores now offer.
"We believe the kiosk will provide our customers additional convenience and allow them to continue to count on Walmart for a wide range of their shopping needs," he said.
The kiosks would be the second and third to be approved for operation in Lancaster County.
The first kiosk to receive approval is slated to open at Musser's Market, at 3985 Columbia Ave.
Musser's officials anticipated that kiosk would open this month but that has not happened. Witalec said there is no timeline yet for the opening of that kiosk.
The temperature-controlled wine kiosks stock about 500 bottles and about 45 varieties of wine.
Customers must do several things to operate the kiosk. First, they have to insert their driver's license and stand before a camera built into the machine.
Their image will be sent to a call center, where a state employee will check the customer's image against their driver's license picture.
Customers also must blow into a machine that measures their blood-alcohol content. If the level is at .02 percent or higher, the sale will not take place.
Customers must use a credit and debit cards at the kiosk.
Stores housing the kiosk don't benefit financially. Rather, the kiosk acts as a draw, bringing in customers who want to purchase wine when they are doing grocery or other types of shopping.
More than 30 kiosks are in operation in the state.
|Self-serve machines getting a workout trial at fast food restaurant in Caliifornia. More to follow.|
If you like the idea of not talking to a single person while ordering your fast food, then El Pollo Loco might have a restaurant for you.
The Costa Mesa-based chain is testing self-serve cash registers at two Orange County restaurants. The machines, found at units in Brea and Santa Ana, have taken the place of behind-the-counter cash register workers.
For some fast foodies, the device is ideal.
You can submit your order and pay without engaging in any human contact. (Note: employees are stationed near the machines in case you have trouble ordering.)
“This is a test during which we will glean insight that will shape our future plans in the area of self serve kiosks,” company spokeswoman Julie Weeks said.
The touch screen kiosks allow customers to place their orders in English or Spanish. The kiosks are expected to improve order accuracy. The devices will also remember your order when you input your phone number or use your credit card as payment.
With less staff needed to take orders, Weeks said the kiosks allow the chain to have more employees help dine-in customers and “keep our salsa bar fully stocked.”
The Brea restaurant is at 2500 E. Imperial Highway, across the street from Walmart near the 57 freeway. The Santa Ana store is at 101 S. Harbor Blvd.
Weeks said the chain plans to “extend the test to eight additional restaurants in the fall.”
It’s unclear where those kiosks will be. Stay tuned for more details.
El Pollo Loco isn’t the only fast-food chain that offers self-serve ordering machines.
Jack in the Box has been using these devices for more than a year with 250 installed in restaurants across the country, including Orange County.
The Jack in the Box locations with self-serve ordering machines are at 4289 Campus Dr. in Irvine and 4625 West Coast Highway in Newport Beach.
Perspective writeup on impact of self-service along with some new IHL numbers
BY AUTUMN SHRUM
In this day and age, you can buy just about anything without interacting with a human.
It's not just the Internet that eliminates the need for face-to-face communication. A growing number of self-service checkouts and kiosks allow consumers to do many things without the involvement of employees.
And more are on the way.
A study by NextGen Research estimates the number of kiosks worldwide will grow from 1 million to 2.5 million by 2014.
There will be more than $775 billion in kiosk transactions by the end of this year, according to The North American Self-Service Kiosks Market Study by IHL Group, and that number could grow to $1.6 trillion by 2013. The consulting group attributes this growth to consumer demand for technology that accommodates today's fast-paced lifestyles.
So what are kiosks?
They take several forms, IHL Group says, including self-service checkout systems in retail establishments, machines that dispense tickets, stamps, DVDs and other retail products, check-in devices that confirm something you've already paid for, and food-ordering equipment commonly found at causal dining and fast food restaurants.
Some Brevard residents say more kiosks will make life easier, while others say they'd take a person over a machine any day.
Jack Faulds of Melbourne said he thinks Redbox, the $1 movie rental kiosk found in area Wal-Marts, is a "wonderful thing." And he said he's been using the self-checkouts at BJ's Wholesale Club and Home Depot for years.
"I don't want to stand in line, and that is one of the good things about self-checkout," Faulds said. "The main benefit is it saves time."
Faulds admits he's had trouble at self-checkouts. One time at Home Depot, he wasn't sure how to ring up a few bolts in the self-checkout line. Turns out, a cashier has to look up the price of bolts and scan them from a list. Still, it wasn't an inconvenience, Faulds said.
"The few times I've had a problem, there's somebody right there to help me with it," he said.
Claudia Thomas of Mims, a systems administrator for Lockheed Martin, said she is an "admitted geek" who loves technology, including self-service kiosks and checkouts. She uses them mainly at Target and grocery stores.
On the other hand, Lois Dickinson of Titusville can't stand kiosks of any kind, suggesting they create extra work for the customer. She'll gladly wait in a longer line at Wal-Mart or pay more for curbside check-in at the airport if it means dealing with an employee.
"I avoid them," Dickinson said. "If you make one little mistake, you're lost."
Check-in kiosks at airports make travel a hassle, said Kelly Uhland of Melbourne, whose family of four adults and five children travel to New Jersey every summer. With all of the long lines and commotion at the airport, "it would be nice to deal with human beings," the Melbourne woman said.
Thomas said she's noticed a few kinks in self-service technology that need to be worked out. Scales that weigh fresh produce at self-checkouts, for example, don't always work properly.
"Until they really resolve that, they need to keep people on standby to help," she said.
There's another downside to more kiosks: fewer jobs.
"It's putting people out of work," said Judy Wynne of Melbourne. "These kiosks are just taking over."
Wynne, who managed a Gimbels department store years ago, remembers having 20 people on her staff at one time.
"Now you walk in a store and you can't find a person," she said.
"It could mean potential job loss, there's no escaping that," Thomas, the Lockheed systems administrator, said. But, she added, while kiosks might take the jobs of cashiers and baggers, they might help created jobs for servicing kiosks and developing kiosk technology.
"I prefer to call it an adjustment in the types of jobs people have," she said.
Love it or hate it, self-service is here to stay. Thomas encourages the technophobic to at least try using a kiosk, and the technologically savvy to be patient with new users.
"When I see other people struggling, I do my part to help them," she said.
Contact Shrum at 242-3612 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow up story on Onity check-in kiosks. "Americans lose up to one hour per day waiting in line, which increases the pressure to boost productivity through multitasking. " [kiosk photo]
Students at colleges and universities are experiencing the same phenomenon, causing campuses to seek applications that increase convenience – including a more efficient check-in, an often exhausting process that can overwhelm staff and students alike.
“Check-in historically has involved a lot of time-consuming, one-on-one interaction, with almost every new and returning resident,” says Anthony Zamora, Head of IT support for the University of San Diego (USD).
“This can be a long and arduous process with the potential for mistakes and a stressful process for our students and staff.”
Students checking in at USD have stood in line for up to three hours, according to Anthony Zamora, but the problem is not limited to San Diego.
Institutions nationwide have sought to evolve check-in procedures with customisable solutions that can effectively support students and staff throughout the year.
In 2000, after having Onity Integra locks installed on campus for approximately one year, Carnegie Mellon University approached Onity about installing an Integra Kiosk, so that students and workers could independently change the PINs for their key cards.
Onity, provider of electronic locking solutions, is part of UTC Fire & Security, a unit of United Technologies. The first Integra Kiosk, which was located outside of the Housing Office, quickly gained recognition.
Onity developed a Kiosk that allowed students and workers to encode their own ID cards for residence hall access. Since that first installation, Onity has helped schools of all sizes manage the procedure more conveniently.
The Onity Integra Kiosk affords the option for students and faculty to encode and activate their ID cards without the supervision of a personnel member and it permits users to change their personal identification number PIN) as frequently as they want, at any time of the day or night.
The University of San Diego (USD) found that the Integra Kiosk decreased the University’s check-in wait times by more than 50%.
“Students appreciate that ID cards are created and pre-encoded when they arrive, so it cuts waiting in line to as little as 30 minutes,” Anthony Zamora says.
“They also have the freedom and option to customize their cards using the Kiosks throughout the year – greatly improving our check-in process,” says Anthony Zamora.
Integra Kiosk features:
* Flexible ISO track data management
* PIN change at Kiosk
* Convenient access – 24 hours a day, seven days a week
* Recharging station for Security Plus users
* Key/ID card update at Kiosk
* Touch-screen operation
* Customisable for each campus
* Available in desktop or console cabinet
Benefits students and staff
With busy schedules among both students and housing staff, it could often be difficult for students to receive assistance when they needed it, particularly during non-office hours.
According to Stan Duci, Director of customer service for Northeastern’s Facilities Division, their students no longer needs to meet with housing staff for their room assignments.
“The Onity Kiosks have decreased check-in time significantly. And while the Kiosks are great for students, our staff love them too because they can be utilized at any time of the day.”
“The Kiosks save the students a lot of time and hassle,” says Dan Yanna, Director of facilities for Shepherd. Shepherd University, located in Shepherd, W. Va., started using Kiosks in 2004 and plans to add more to the five already utilized on campus.
In addition to convenience, Onity Kiosks also feature customisation options, such as Internet access that provide users with campus and community information, university resources, weather, news, restaurants and maps.
Five new case studies released including Amtrak, SITA CUSS, ISI Gaming, Army Internet Gaming, and Vanguard Car Rental check-in.
Case studies published by KIOSK in Colorado and links are here:
New advertising campaign by Alamo promoting kiosk usage. Alamo use a beaver and a buffalo in ads for the rent-a-car company. Not unlike Frontier Airlines (animals work better than people). In the 30-second spots, Al the beaver teaches his timid buffalo friend Mo to "fight the herd instinct" by choosing Alamo’s self-service kiosk instead of standing in line at the checkout counter. We think the second one with the guy inside the kiosk is the funnier of the two but we are partial to inside of kiosk... View story for links to both videos.
New advertising campaign by Alamo promoting kiosk usage. Alamo use a beaver and a buffalo in ads for the rent-a-car company. Not unlike Frontier Airlines (animals work better than people). In the 30-second spots, Al the beaver teaches his timid buffalo friend Mo to "fight the herd instinct" by choosing Alamo’s self-service kiosk instead of standing in line at the checkout counter. Kiosks are manufactured/designed by KIOSK Information Systems
Intelli-Check announces new deployment of drivers license devices being used by Alamo and National in their self check-in kiosks for car rental kiosks. The order reflects another 200 kiosks being deployed to these particular customers.
January 04, 2007 09:00 AM Eastern Time
Intelli-Check Announces Multiple Purchase Orders for Its ID-CHECK® Technology from KIOSK Information Systems, Inc.
-Successful Airport Pilot Program for Leading Brands National Car Rental and Alamo Rent a Car Results in Planned Deployment of Self Service Check-In Kiosks in Many Airport Locations-
WOODBURY, N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Intelli-Check, Inc. (AMEX: IDN) announced today that it has received its second order totaling over two hundred of its ID-CHECK systems from KIOSK Information Systems, Inc. to be integrated into National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car self service check-in kiosks at multiple airports. Vanguard Car Rental USA Inc. is the operator of the National and Alamo brands.
The orders were placed by KIOSK after National and Alamo completed an extensive pilot program at three airports proving the successful operational performance of Intelli-Check’s ID-CHECK technology. Based on the solid integration and outstanding field performance of the ID-CHECK system, National and Alamo have announced plans to roll out the self-service check-in solution at many other major airports nationwide.
Mr. Todd Liebman, Senior VP of Marketing & COO of Intelli-Check, stated, “This order is another example of how ID-CHECK can increase both productivity and security in retail applications where speed and ID proofing are paramount. We have other pilot programs in various stages of testing. We believe that each successful pilot that leads to a phased roll out reinforces our conclusion that Intelli-Check’s proprietary technology is a vital link to both increased security and greater productivity. We also believe that each success will reduce the long sales cycle we have encountered in the past. We are very optimistic that successful pilots, such as those done at National and Alamo airport locations, will continue to create business opportunities for Intelli-Check over the next few years.”
Jerry Dow, Chief Marketing Officer of Vanguard Car Rental USA Inc., said, “We have been very pleased with the way our customers are embracing the new technology, a first in our industry, as well as the service and support provided by Intelli-Check Inc. and Kiosk Information Systems.”
About Intelli-Check, Inc.
Intelli-Check, Inc. is the acknowledged leader in technology that helps assure the authenticity of driver licenses, state issued non-driver and military identification cards used as proof of identity. Our patented ID-CHECK technology instantly reads, analyzes, and verifies the encoded data in magnetic stripes and barcodes on government-issue IDs from approximately 60 jurisdictions in the U.S. and Canada to determine if the content and format is valid. For more information, please visit www.intellicheck.com.
About Vanguard Car Rental USA Inc.
As operator of the National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car brands, Vanguard Car Rental USA Inc. comprises one of the leading car rental companies, with more than 3,200 locations in 83 countries, including the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, the Caribbean, Latin America, Asia, the Pacific Rim, Africa, the Middle East and Australia.
About KIOSK Information Systems (KIOSK)
KIOSK Information Systems is the world leader in design, manufacturing, service and support of indoor and outdoor kiosks, public Internet stations and other electronic self-service informational terminals. KIOSK is the OEM manufacturer of self-service terminals for Dell, Hewlett Packard, Sony Photo, US Transportation Security Administration and many others. KIOSK corporate clients include McDonalds, Ticketmaster, FedEx, Safeway, Citibank, Disney, Exxon Mobil, US Postal Service and Wal-Mart, as well as numerous government agencies and universities. KIOSK has facilities in Louisville, CO and Falkirk, Scotland, UK. Major vertical product markets include Retail, HR, Government, Photo and Digital Media, Voting, and OEM kiosk services. http://www.kiosk.com
Intelli-Check Safe Harbor Statement
Certain statements in this press release constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended. When used in this press release, words such as "will," "believe," "expect," anticipate, "encouraged" and similar expressions, as they relate to the company or its management, as well as assumptions made by and information currently available to the company's management identify forward-looking statements. Our actual results may differ materially from the information presented here. There is no assurance that the use of ID-CHECK technology by our potential customers and partners, or government efforts to enhance security or curtail the sale of age-restricted products to underage buyers will lead to additional sales of ID-CHECK technology. Additional information concerning forward-looking statements is contained under the heading of risk factors listed from time to time in the company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We do not assume any obligation to update the forward-looking information.
Frank Mandelbaum, CEO, 516-992-1900
Wolfe Axelrod Weinberger Assoc. LLC
Stephen D. Axelrod, CFA, 212-370-4500
Alisa D. Steinberg, 212-370-4500
Vanguard Car Rental USA Inc.
Charles L. Pulley, 918-401-6450
Director, Corporate Communications
TULSA, Okla., Nov. 14, 2006 -- The best car rental company for frequent business travelers just became more convenient for all travelers. National Car Rental announced today it will roll out new touch-screen kiosks at rental locations throughout the United States. The new system cuts check in time by about 50 percent when compared to average counter check in times.
The kiosk roll out comes after successful testing by customers in Dallas, Las Vegas and Jacksonville, Fla.
"The rental counter is typically pretty fast, using the kiosk is faster and the fastest way to rent from National will always be the Emerald Club," said Jerry Dow, National's chief marketing officer. "This is the next best thing to the Emerald Club and customers love it."
The Emerald Club allows customers with information on file to bypass the counter, choose their own car, and get an e-receipt upon return. For those not in the Club, this new touch- screen kiosk allows any customer with a valid driver's license, major credit card and an existing reservation to bypass the rental counter and check in directly at the kiosk. After a customer agrees to the terms and conditions, a receipt-sized rental agreement is printed from the kiosk and the customer is directed to his or her rental car on the lot. At the exit booth, the customer simply shows the booth agent his or her rental agreement and driver's license and then drives away.
The kiosk also allows the customer to review rental information, upgrade to a larger car class, add additional drivers, and purchase option items such as GPS units Liability Damage Waiver (LDW), and Pre Pay Gasoline.
By next summer, National expects to have more than 70 rental locations outfitted with the new touch-screen kiosks. Besides the test markets, the first locations to roll out this month are Orlando, Detroit, Denver and Los Angeles. Boston, Philadelphia, Houston, St. Louis, Dallas, Miami, San Francisco, Atlanta and New York will all have kiosks by March.
With the kiosks and its Emerald Club service, National makes it easy for its customers to bypass the counter or kiosk completely. "It is up to the customer to choose fast or faster service from National," Dow said.
"Nationalcar.com will always be the best place for business people to make a rental reservation. That's where customers will find simple ways to get their cars fast and easy, and they will never incur a booking fee," said Dow.
National Car Rental is one of the world's largest rental car companies. The company uses technology and customer service to serve the daily rental needs of the frequent business traveler by offering speed, convenience and choice in their rental process. National has locations throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, the Caribbean, Latin America, Asia, the Pacific Rim, Africa, the Middle East and Australia. For more information about Alamo, log on to http://www.nationalcar.com/ . The National Car Rental brand is operated by Vanguard Car Rental USA Inc.
A report due out Oct. 17 from the IHL Consulting Group sees grocers aggressively moving to upgrade to self-checkout systems, even before they replace or upgrade the aging point-of-sale systems they are based on. But another retail technology report—released Oct. 16 by the Aberdeen Group—has a very different self-checkout take, calling retail self-checkout "an absolute failure."
The reports on their own do not directly contradict each other, in that the IHL report simply says a lot of retailers will move to self-checkout, and the Aberdeen report doesn't dispute the intended purchases but merely the wisdom of them.
The Aberdeen report author, retail research analyst Sahir Anand, wrote that self-checkout systems have frustrated and angered customers and not helped retailers.
"Self-checkout systems have not significantly improved the customer experience. These systems have met several operational and store navigation roadblocks such as lack of a strong customer interface, inflexible store formats and frustrating self-scan and bag procedures," the report said. "Customers have never found self check-out convenient or time-saving. As the customers' share of wallet has diverted towards easier and more intuitive web channels, the lackluster performance of self-check out has created further POS challenges for retailers."