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Checkout the future

Published: 21. januari 2019

When visiting a store in the future, how will the checkout work? Perhaps by a simple flick of your hand, you pay for the purchase and alert your shopping drone. Or perhaps the checkout works like this: Uma, my favourite checkout attendant greets me in the checkout area. Just before paying, she says that they just had a delivery of pulpo from Vigo and thought I might be interested. Sure I was, and in a few seconds she had it from the ceiling-mounted dispenser. You leave the checkout very happy.

What is the service and technical things can we expect in the future? Well, you will decide! You are the customer that businesses want. Your preferences matter for the stores, when trying to get and keep your business. Do you want excellent service from a person or do you prefer to be serviced by machines? I’d guess that your preferences differ based on the type store and your earlier experiences with service and machines. I have a preference for personal service when I visit a store and in general I like machines. I do quite a bit of online shopping as well, and get my dose of non-personal service there. But I’m not you.

There are stores where personal service is very important. They don’t want to put a machine between you and the checkout staff. But they use machines to automate and help their staff. This frees up time and attention for the staff to focus on you. I like this.

Sure there are persons who like self-service checkouts. They might enjoy short or non-existing queues and don’t mind to scan, bag and pay with machines. Many stores are trying self-service checkouts with varying success. For some customers and stores it’s great, for others a faster serviced checkout is better.

Because of the variety of checkout experiences that new technology offers, the cashier role is transforming into being a checkout attendant. Cash should be handled by machines moving the awkward personal cash responsibility for the cashier to a machine. No fear of cash mistakes or losses. By removing ”cash” from the role name, there isn’t much left. Say hello to the new role ”checkout attendant”. The role name change better reflects the future role for the staff at the checkouts that are servicing your customers.

How will you pay? Well, again you decide whether it’s cash, debit card, credit card or mobile. Whatever is easy and safe for your keeping and controlling your money.

So you’ll meet a variety of checkout technologies in the stores that you shop in. Your choice of checkout experience will be in focus. For those of us who value the checkout experience, we will choose stores accordingly.