SINGAPORE - It is not just supermarket chains and fast food outlets - even mini-marts are starting to adopt self-checkout machines in Singapore's push for retail productivity.
In South Buona Vista Road, mini-mart Food-Joy is one of the first few mini-marts to adopt the machines.
The company invested in its first self-checkout counter in January last year, with the support of Spring Singapore's capability development grant. After two months, it decided to buy a second machine, which cost more than $50,000 each.
With the self-checkout counters, queuing time was reduced from about three minutes to one minute per customer, increasing the number of sales transactions per day by about 15 per cent, said general manager S. Janakiraman during a learning journey on Friday (April 21) for micro-retailers and attended by Minister for Trade and Industry S. Iswaran.
Since then, the mini-mart has seen up to 20 per cent increase in revenue last year compared to 2015, added Mr Janakiraman, who has been working at Food-Joy for eight years.
The self-checkout counters have also reduced the number of manned cashiers by half. As a result, employees are freed up to take on new roles such as stock-taking and merchandising, said director of Food-Joy, Mr Tay Eng Khiam.
While cash counting previously took employees 20 minutes at the end of each day, the process now takes about two minutes.
However, the store still needs at least one regular cashier counter, manned by an employee, for the sale of controlled items such as alcohol and cigarettes, said Mr Janakiraman.
During the learning journey, Mr Iswaran said more small and micro-retailers should embrace the use of technology to enhance their growth and competitiveness.
"The retail industry is changing fast," said the minister.
"Scale should not be a barrier as small businesses can collaborate with associations and industry partners to acheive the desired outcome."