Retailers deploying self-checkout options should be taking a balanced approach as a study reveals just a small portion of consumers want SCO-only in a store and nearly half of consumers still want the personal interaction of a cashier environment.

The study, from Catalina, a shopper intelligence provider, revealed a majority of shoppers prefer a combination of manned and self-checkout when in a retail location.

The news comes at a time when more retailers are deploying SCOs, with the number of SCOs increasing 10{c30f02d1a3839018c3a3c8c7102050a0b32e2e4f8eba54dea6cc544f0247e749} in just the past five years, according to a press release on the findings. Catalina estimates SCO accounts for nearly 40{c30f02d1a3839018c3a3c8c7102050a0b32e2e4f8eba54dea6cc544f0247e749} of grocery chain checkout lanes.

Catalina segmented shoppers into three segments for the study: SCO-only, manned checkout-only (MCO) and a hybrid of SCO and manned lanes.

Catalina data shows 39{c30f02d1a3839018c3a3c8c7102050a0b32e2e4f8eba54dea6cc544f0247e749} used both lane types in 2021, depending upon their shopping mission; 49{c30f02d1a3839018c3a3c8c7102050a0b32e2e4f8eba54dea6cc544f0247e749} preferred the personal attention offered in the manned-only lanes and 12{c30f02d1a3839018c3a3c8c7102050a0b32e2e4f8eba54dea6cc544f0247e749} were steadfast SCO-exclusive fans.

Among other insights revealed: SCO-only shoppers had smaller baskets and bought less than hybrid and MCO fans. Instead of grocery stores, SCO-only customers likely do pantry
loading in other channels such as mass retailers or online. Hybrid shoppers produced the highest customer value ($1,720) and made 36 shopping trips per year in 2021.

“In our view, retailers should evolve to create a balance of self-checkout and manned lanes to accommodate more multi-dimensional shopper profiles, improve customer experience, enable cost efficiencies and maximize sales for the long term,” Wesley Bean, U.S. chief retail officer for Catalina, said in the release. “Until recently, shopper profiles generally grouped consumers by demographics and where they are on the purchase funnel. Now, retailers can layer in check-out preferences and shopper affinities to create a more personalized shopping experience and reach individual shoppers with messages that matter.”