Your Retail Mobile Self-Scanning Questions Asked & Answered

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Your Retail Mobile Self-Scanning Questions Asked & Answered

One of the many impacts of COVID-19 on grocery retail has been the acceleration of consumers using mobile self-scanning apps.  As customer priorities have shifted, the need for faster, safer and, ultimately, more contactless shopping experiences has naturally shifted people towards self-scanning.  After all, you can shop at your own pace, cut out queuing, avoid the need to interact with a cashier or touch a till screen.  Simply scan, pay and leave.

Self-scanning isn’t new but already increasing adoption levels are now spiking. So whether you are already piloting the technology, have deployed it in certain stores or are already convinced but looking to scale it up – it’s a big shift for many retailers and tends to raise a lot of questions.  These can vary from topics as diverse as expected channel share, to the onboarding process, to the user experience, to the right theft mitigation procedures.

Due to the interest we’ve been receiving in self-scanning, Scandit recently hosted a Webinar Series on Self-Scanning since COVID-19.  Over four interactive sessions we were joined by a self-scanning retail customer Coop Denmark, self-checkout technology experts MishiPay and industry analyst Cate Trotter from Insider Trends to deep dive into the different aspects of self-scanning.

Here we share the top ten frequently asked audience questions from throughout the series – and some of the insights to answer them.

Check them out below or listen to our self-scanning webinars and other assets for a full and detailed analysis.

Question 1: What is the biggest barrier to adoption for customers – and what was the typical adoption rate prior to COVID-19 and after?

Adoption barriers vary and can be related to many factors: local consumer preferences, conservative shoppers not embracing innovation,or a lack of understanding of the perceived benefits for customers – after all retailers are effectively passing the work onto the customer!

In the introductory webinar in our series, Self-Scanning and COVID-19, Coop Denmark talked with us about their perspective and how COVID-19 has significantly accelerated adoption in Denmark, as previously reluctant consumers’ need to go contactless by using their own devices has created a compelling reason to self-scan.  In fact, Coop Denmark shared they have seen a 100% increase in transactions and unique users processed through their self-scanning app since COVID-19 hit.

Question 2: How do you onboard customers to your self-scanning – what trigger do you use?

There are different ways to encourage customers to proceed with mobile self-scanning onboarding.

One method is printing a large QR code in store to kick start the sign-up.  Another is to leverage existing loyalty programs by making self-scanning another feature in your app and incentivizing people to try it – as showcased by Coop Denmark in our second webinar How a Successful Self-Scanning App was Built & Deployed.

This session really honed in on Coop Denmark’s experiences of developing and deploying a successful self-scanning app and shared the lessons learnt along the way.

Customers in Coop Denmark stores can scan any product in store to automatically initiate the self scanning experience, recognizing from the product scanned which store the user is located in.  Read more about Coop Denmark’s story.

The key to success?  Make it seamless and friction-free, with well-trained staff on hand to help first time users.

Question 3: What is the average percentage of customers we can expect to use self-scanning?

Many retailers are understandably keen to gain insight into the potential returns of self-scanning before rolling out on a wide scale.  Of course the actual outcomes vary depending on many factors, but we asked Insider Trends to share some of their findings on this topic.

According to the data points shared by Insider Trends in our fourth webinar, Self-Scanning Success: From KPIs to ROI,  and depending on the type of store, country and season, realistic adoption can vary between 14 and 30% (and in some cases up to 40% in peak or busy times).

Question 4: What is a realistic customer retention percentage for self-scanning?

The answer to this question depends on a number of variables, but according to market research insights shared by Insider Trends again, once the onboarding barrier has been overcome (and assuming the customer app experience is smooth and engaging), 80% retention over 90 days is realistically achievable.

Question 5: What are the key considerations for a successful self-scanning rollout?

This was a recurring theme throughout the webinar series.  However one answer that was repeatedly cited was communication!  Proper communication is perhaps the biggest consideration to ensure a successful rollout – but also the most overlooked.  And this should cover communications to your employees and your customers.

One quick win is to use all possible channels from digital (email, apps etc) to physical (store branding, bags, receipts etc) to alert customers to the option to self-scan.

Coop Denmark shared their successful approach, which involved ensuring complete alignment of both customers and employees on the benefits of self-scanning.  For example, if an employee sees a queue building up, they can encourage customers to Scan and Pay instead to skip the lines.

In fact they stated in the webinar that for them, the employee buy-in is just as important as customer buy-in to ensure self-scanning success.

Question 6: Does shrinkage increase once self-scanning has been deployed?

Shrinkage increase is one of the main concerns of retailers considering rolling out self scanning. In the webinar Self-Scanning Must-Have Features, self-checkout experts MishiPay shared their observations around shrinkage.  In fact, amongst their self-scanning and self-checkout customers they have actually been told there has been no increase in shrinkage increase  – thanks largely to well thought-through theft mitigation systems that match each retailers’ main needs.

Question 7: What mechanisms can be used to mitigate theft?

There are different ways to mitigate theft when deploying self-scanning – installing cameras around the stores, showing a ‘green screen’ to an associate, performing random or algorithm-based checks, or even using gates at the exit.

The key is the approach must be appropriate to the store type and shopping journey to mitigate theft for retailers and minimize hassle for customers.  For the full discussion about theft mitigation, check out the on-demand webinar.

Question 8: How does self-scanning work with weighted products?

This was another commonly asked question focussing on a perceived friction point for self-scanning customers.  During our series, Coop Denmark shared their approach to handling weighted products during a self-scan shopping experience.

They have service signs placed in strategic locations to remind customers to print barcodes for weighted products, so that they can be scanned and added to the basket. Integrating a digital catalogue of loose items (e.g. items from the bakery) in-app can also facilitate adding weighted products in the virtual basket seamlessly.

Question 9: Is there an increase in the average value of the baskets from self-scanning shoppers?

The impact on basket size is another frequently raised point when considering whether to take the plunge on self-scanning.  Insider Trends shared their findings where deploying self-scanning has seen basket sizes increase between 5% – 25% depending on the type of store, products, location.

Getting customers into your digital ecosystem is cited as another compelling but under discussed reason to deploy self-scanning though. Insider Trends also highlighted that retailers are seeing an average increase in basket size of 18% through digital interactions (Caper 2019).

Question 10: Does self-scanning significantly contribute to driving additional revenues or is it mainly about the channel shift?

According to market data, self scanning can contribute to increasing your revenues up to 10%.

Insider Trends looked into the components of this huge increase, including insights on the impact of improving the customer experience, with 25% growth potential from upsell and cross sell, and a notable impact of sharing product reviews on a retailers’ top lines being notable factors.

More Mobile Self-Scanning Resources & Insights

Interested to find out more about how to successfully deploy convenient and contactless self-scanning?  Here are some assets you might find useful:

Check out our Self-Scanning Webinar Series – all four sessions are available on-demand now:

  • Self-Scanning & COVID-19:  A game changer for Coop Denmark – here
  • How a Successful Self-Scanning App was Built & Deployed – here
  • Self-Scanning Must-Have Features – From Theft Prevention to Upselling – here
  • Self-Scanning Success: From KPIs to ROI – here

Take our Self-Scanning Value Calculator – see how much revenue you could generate with self-scanning in the era of social distancing and contactless retail.