The Self Service Revolution

May 17, 2008

I agree that the quality and variety of vended products has vastly improved since the 60s. Too bad the industry lost most of the ideal venues for the application for vended food and beverage services. Ironic isn't it?

While my dear friends in the traditional full line vending business are agonizing over how to sell candy bars, potato chips and soft drinks profitably, something is going on in the background.

The self service revolution:

* 97 percent of consumers would use self-service to handle a transaction or service.* 86 percent of consumers say they are more likely to do business with a company that offers the flexibility to interact using self-service.*66 percent of consumers say the availability of self-service technologies creates a more positive perception of the brand.*56 percent say their likelihood to use self-service has increased over the last 12 months.

Speed, convenience and ease of use are identified most frequently by respondents when asked why they would choose self-service over personal assistance in each of four industry sectors:* financial (faster-70 percent, more convenient-67 percent, easier-52 percent);* retail (faster-68 percent, more convenient-64 percent, easier-52 percent);* travel (faster-63 percent, more convenient-61 percent, easier-60 percent); and* healthcare (faster-53 percent, more convenient-50 percent, easier-47 percent).

Our industry was once the leader and innovator in the unattended sale concept. Are we to be left behind in this major shift in retailing?

*Sources of statistical data:Time Magazine, March 2008NCR Self Service Consumer Survey, 2008