By: Chad Ross, Manager, Industry Relations & Total Store Collaboration, Food Marketing Institute
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Three grocers start talking about their customer checkout experience. One only offers traditional checkout with store associates. Another is starting to introduce self-checkout. The last grocer has fully integrated self-checkout and is interested in mobile apps. Which grocer is offering the most frictionless checkout experience?

They all are.   

Depending of your shopper’s needs, you may already be offering frictionless checkout no matter which model you’re using. During the recent 2019 NRF PROTECT conference, FMI lead several discussions on the topic of frictionless checkout looking at best practices for implementing new checkout technologies and implications for labor costs. One discussion included a panel of food retailers, like what I outlined above, navigating the winding road to be truly frictionless:

  • A food retailer not yet in the space of self-checkout.
  • Another in the middle of bringing its company back into the space.
  • The third retailer feels comfortable in the space of self-checkout but is now moving forward with mobile app technology.

Ultimately, the panel discussion showed the deciding factor in which frictionless checkout direction to take, and how fast food retailers move towards that solution, is based on the needs of their customers. However, as everyday shoppers strive to streamline their lives, its important food retailers accept the challenge to streamline with them. 

FMI also hosted a discussion on the question, “What is the impact of technologies, like self-checkout, on labor cost?” With the help of Wakefern and the Loss Prevention Research Council,  the session Technology’s Welcomed Impact on Labor Costs looked at steps retailers should use to keep labor cost down while increasing the presence of checkout technology. Even as food retailers increase in-store technologies, the presence of a well-trained self-checkout attendant will always be vital. These attendants should be familiar with ALL front-end policies and procedures, know what to look for and how to respond to scenarios that reduce shrink, and create a positive customer experience at checkout.

Turns out, those three grocers have a lot to discuss when it comes to frictionless checkout. This best practice sharing is a perfect example of the work FMI’s Asset Protection Council is accomplishing. For more information on the Asset Protection Council e-mail Chad Ross.