In-store shopping preferred, but touchless; new methods may impact long-term consumer shopping habits

Friday, Apr 17, 2020

Social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic has not only impacted shopping habits, but it has changed the way consumers prefer to shop in-store.

A recent survey from Shekel found that 87% of shoppers would prefer to shop in-store with touchless or self-checkout options. And 70% of those consumers are already using these options when they make in-store purchases. The survey, which was executed in the US and had respondents between 18-60, found that two-thirds of consumers are now using self-checkout, while less than one third of them are ordering groceries online.

“We’re facing difficult times and consumers are taking every precaution to protect themselves and their families,” said Yedidia Yossef, Shekel’s Chief Executive Officer. “It’s imperative that consumers have the ability to checkout using unattended shopping for their health and safety, as well as the health and safety of tireless grocery workers.”

The self-checkout option has remained popular for consumers, especially during this time. But, a touchless option would serve as the most ideal to help contain the spread of germs more effectively. It seems that grocery retailers are recognizing this and doing what they can to offer shopping options with reduced contact.

The National Cash Register Corporation, known for making self-service kiosks, has been helping retailers make touchless self-checkout a reality for their stores. They’ve shared a few of these tips to minimize touching & interacting as much as possible:

  • Encouraging shoppers to scan the first item to start the transaction instead of touching the “start” button to begin
  • Reconfiguring the self-checkout software to allow electronic payment entry to start when a shopper inserts their debit or credit card into the payment terminal, rather than touching the “credit card” payment button on the self-checkout screen.
  • Emphasizing mobile wallets and mobile payments.

Time will only tell whether touchless will become a long-term shopping habit for consumers going forward. But, one thing is for sure — the current health crisis has impacted how consumers shop and in-store experiences remain a preference among most individuals.

The reason for this? Because physical spaces provide the opportunity (although temporary distancing restrictions in place), for human interaction, a fundamental psychological and biological human need.

Source: Shoppers Prefer Touchless – Business Rire 4/7/20, NCR Touchless Self-Checkout – 4/10/20,
Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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