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    Self Checkout Gets Mixed Reviews

    ACNielsen U.S. finds only 32 percent think do-it-yourself lanes are "great."

    SCHAUMBURG, Ill. -- ACNielsen U.S., an operating unit of ACNielsen, today reported that 61 percent of U.S. households have used self-checkout lanes, with 32 percent of those agreeing that "they are great." Many more shoppers who have tried the do-it-yourself checkout lanes (52 percent) said "they are okay," and 16 percent called them "frustrating." The research comes from a new ACNielsen Homescan consumer panel survey of 61,500 nationally representative U.S. households, according to a release by ACNielsen.

    Todd Hale, senior vice president, ACNielsen Consumer Insights, said, "Self-checkout is still a relatively new phenomenon, so it's good news for retailers that so many households have tried the new lanes. However, retailers who want to grow consumer acceptance, satisfaction and continued use of the do-it-yourself checkout lanes need to offer shoppers more help in getting comfortable with the process."

    As for the future, 70 percent of those who have tried self-checkout lanes plan to use them again. Just 25 percent of those who have never tried the lanes plan to do so in the future.

    According to Phil Lempert, NBC Today Show food trends editor and a consultant to ACNielsen, "For many shoppers, self-checkout is intimidating. Retailers must be proactive in demonstrating the units and pointing out the time savings for shoppers. Unfortunately, if one does experience a problem -- not having a price ring up correctly, for example, or having to wait for a customer-service person to correct a malfunction -- odds are they will never return to the self checkout lane again. Consumers have zero tolerance for new technologies that don't meet their needs."

    The self-checkout lane research is featured in the November issue of Facts, Figures & the Future, the monthly e-newsletter published by ACNielsen, the Food Marketing Institute and Phil Lempert. The ACNielsen Homescan consumer panel is the CPG industry's preeminent consumer panel. Members of the nationally representative panel, now numbering 61,500 households and growing to more than twice that number by 2005, are equipped with patented in-home scanners. Using these hand-held devices, household members record their purchases of UPC-coded products, prescription medications, and fresh foods/random weight items, and complete periodic attitudinal surveys. This information is then downloaded to ACNielsen for analysis.

    ACNielsen is a VNU business, as are Convenience Store News and CSNews Online.

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