I went to my local Woolworths yesterday as my wife was sick with the flu to get a few things to help the kids go back to school after the holiday break. The kids needed bread and some fillings to make sandwiches for the week. This would also give the kids another task to complete on the final day of holidays. A rewarding task as they got to design their own sandwiches.
About 6 months ago our local Woolworths installed self serve kiosks where you can self serve your own shopping on the way out, 8 stations for customers to self serve and one employee to manage the 8 stations. For me Woolworths were several months behind the local Bunnings doing exactly the same thing. Only in the last 6 months my local movie theater Hoyts has done exactly the same thing, you can now buy or collect tickets at a self serve kiosk without going up the the candy shop. I can now self serve myself online at my local RTA in the past 12 months also.
I have never really given a lot of thought to all this self serve going on around me until yesterday, we are all aware it is happening, these new auto checkouts are discussed at parties. I remember more than 10 years ago that Wo0lworths were trialling checking out a whole trolley of groceries in Tasmania. The kids love going through self serve it is a bit of fun for them, little do they know by the time they get older that is all that will exist.
Just last week I purchased tickets for the local football game online, we all do this now but I was surprised to see now that I am taking a bit more notice of the self serve aspects the 3 different levels of pricing for the privilege of printing my own tickets on my own printer at home or in the office for my favourite sporting event.
What happened to me is that while I have a choice of going through the self serve kiosks at my Woolworths I also had a choice to go through the express checkout, no matter when I have gone shopping at my Woolworths I always had the choice of self serve or express checkout. Well that all changed on this visit where I think a loud statement was being made. I went to the express check out as I do when I have 15 to 20 items and less only to find every one of the 8 express checkout lanes were closed.
I had a choice at this point to stand in line behind the large trolleys and wait to be served or go through self serve. I did not want to wait, I went through self serve and just contributed to the end of employees assisting me through the express lanes.
I am also contributing to this massive growth in self serve, self serve kiosks and the reduction in day to day staff both with my personal choices and also with our self serve visitor management kiosks. Every day I use a self serve option like going through self serve at Woolworths I am impacting local jobs, the more we all use self serve the less staff Woolworths needs at the checkouts including express lanes. Yesterday I went to use the express checkout and Woolworths decided for me if I was going to use self serve or express checkout by shutting down express checkout.
Many times our customers choose to put in a self serve visitor management kiosk initially it is for the assistance to the reception staff who are often overloaded, as each task is taken away before we know it the visitor management kiosk is now the receptionist, just like the express lane is going to disappear from Woolworths.
Are you thinking about making your reception area self serve for visitors? Would you like your visitors to self announce their arrival automatically sending email or SMS to the host?