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Retail Technology, Retail technology News

EHI survey finds investment strong at the till

Friday March 5 2010

Latest research finds speed and customer convenience are key drivers of checkout process

Latest research finds speed and customer convenience are key drivers of checkout process


The checkout process places demands, not only on the customers’ money, but also on their patience.


This, according to EHI Retail Institute, only emphasises the importance of point-of-sale (PoS) systems for the retail industry. On the one hand, such systems have to meet ever higher requirements and, on the other, they have to be faster than their predecessors, if possible.


This also explains why the participants in the EHI survey, Checkout Systems 2010,” unveiled at retail IT trade show, EuroCIS this week in Düsseldorf, regard speed as an optimisation lever at the checkout. The majority of the retailers surveyed considered the payment process to offer the largest potential for improvement of customer service at the checkout.


Green IT and self-checkout


An ever-increasing number of additional functions are carried out at the checkout. Currently these concern mainly couponing and e-transaction loading. But in future they will also include contactless payments, which are set for further development. Whereas today almost 40% of those questioned were already using a couponing function in their checkout systems, two thirds of them said they were planning to introduce it in the medium-term.


‘Green IT’ emerged as not yet playing a major role at the till. Although more than 70% of the participants were of the opinion that environmental friendliness is an important factor in the selection of hardware, it was very seldom a factor that had a relevant influence on the final procurement decision.


A quarter of the businesses surveyed believed that integrated radio frequency identification (RFID) readers would be used to register goods at the checkout in the years ahead. And the survey found the proliferation of the various self-checkout systems was advancing slowly but steadily. Today, almost 13% of the respondents were using such systems. More than a third of the companies surveyed predict their future introduction into their business where, technically, these systems are now mature. However, acceptance by the customers was still a matter of concern.


Age structure at the checkout


In recent years many systems have been renewed. While in 2008, the average age of the PoS hardware was 6.4 years, in 2010 it amounts to only 4.5 years. As far as the operating systems (OS) were concerned, the advance of Linux seems to have faltered. Although, with almost 60% of the installations, the share of Linux systems is still high, particularly in businesses with large checkout lines, Microsoft-based systems, with 30%, were gaining market share. Earlier Microsoft DOS systems too were still present in the market, with more than 10%.


A total of 61 retailers took part in the survey, operating 117,000 checkout systems in 49,500 branches worldwide overall.