The nice thing about the IKEA store in Delft, is that is also serves as their Concept Center. So every time I visit, there is some new stuff. Like the self check out line above.
They have been in practice for a couple of months now. Talking to some people there, I learned of the main purpose of the aisles.
It was not to test ways of faster check outs. Because self-service was actually not faster than standing in a ‘normal’ line. Yet by giving the people a sense of control, made for happier customers. At least this was the hypothesis.
Now whether this is truly the aim of the aisles, I don’t know (could not get an answer on the issue on the phone) and obviously if there is a genuine problem with check out times, it should be adressed.
But the above does show how the key to solutions is whatever it is, you define as a problem.
And in this age of abundant solutions, coming up with interesting problems can do more for companies wanting to stand out amongst competitors, than just perfecting current practices.