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Many Shoppers Still Prefer Human Touch at Checkout

The traditional checkout model is undergoing a major technological overhaul, but consumers aren't necessarily ready to replace their human cashiers.

A July 2018 poll by CivicScience found that 57% of US internet users prefer to use cashiers when purchasing items in store. Just one-third of respondents said the self-checkout line was their preferred option.

Similar to use of other in-store technologies, age is a contributing factor for self-checkout preferences.

The CivicScience study showed that 75% of respondents ages 55 or older, and 55% of those 35 to 54, would rather wait in line for a cashier than head over to an area set up with self-service registers.

Millennials (those 18 to 34) were found to be divided on what kind of checkout experience they prefer. Slightly less than half (46%) prefer self-checkout, while 39% said they like a cashier-led interaction instead.

With more millennials favoring self-checkout, CivicScience concludes that the role of the cashier may become obsolete as younger consumers mature and adoption is more widespread. 

Mobile could help hasten that shift. A May 2018 survey by Voicebot and Voysis found that many US internet users would turn to the voice assistant on their mobile device rather than a sales associate while shopping in-store. Nearly 21% of respondents would ask their voice assistant for in-store help, while 17.6% would use their voice assistant to self-checkout.

For some shoppers, a store format that doesn’t rely on cashiers or floor staff isn’t out of the question. Fully 60% of US internet users worldwide polled by MuleSoft in April 2018 said they would prefer an Amazon Go-like shopping experience, in which they could simply walk out with what they wanted and be charged automatically.