Key Food Montague, a cooperative grocer in Brooklyn Heights, NY, has become home to new cashless self-checkout systems supplied by Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions and STCR, a provider of business systems to grocery retailers, according to a press release.
Four of Toshiba’s Self Checkout System 6 units were deployed in four self-checkout lanes positioned in the center of the store. These self-checkout lanes are now managing more 20% of its customer count, according Key Food Montague.
Self-checkout, irrespective of basket size, not only offers an improved shopper experience, but saves on store labor productivity and resource utilization, which can cost 20% to 30% of the payroll in retail, according to the companies. Once implemented, retailers today can realize a return on their investment costs in less than 18 months, they claim.
Self-service is becoming more common in retail. Stores such as Macy's are beginning to embrace it for at least some aspects of their operations. One of the segments in which self-service may make the most sense is grocery, and more of them have gotten that memo. Consulting firm RBR recently found that a record number of self-checkout terminals shipped last year.
Grocery retailers like Walmart and Amazon are looking for ways to let shoppers avoid checkout lines altogether. Meanwhile, other grocers, especially independent ones like Key Food Montague, need to at least look for more ways to make grocery shopping trips go more smoothly for shoppers.
One of the things that Key Food Montague did differently than most is placing cashless self-checkout terminals in the center of the store, rather than the traditional location at the front of the store near exits. It's an interesting move because, as noted in the press release, that's where the foot traffic is as people shop. Having a checkout in the middle of the store makes quite a bit of sense if you are a shopper that needs to quickly grab a few things, get through the checkout line as quickly as possible and head out.
Key Food Montague officials noted in the press release that the location decision, which it appears Toshiba and STCR helped guide, immediately had a positive effect on customer count, especially among millennials. Other retailers may not often look to independent grocery cooperatives for insight on the effect of cutting-edge technology, but Key Food Montague's experience and its reported payoff, should give them reason to.