Grocery stores have had trouble figuring out where to use machines and where to rely more on people.
In general, they’ve chosen to use robots behind the scenes or for jobs that people don’t like to do (like cleaning floors) or can’t do very well (like keeping track of real-time supplies).
Even these attempts have had mixed results. Walmart (WMT) – Get Free Report has tried to automate its order-pickup machines and put robots in stores to count what’s on the shelves, but the plans have been scrapped. Other chains have tried to use robots, but most of them have failed, with the exception of a few that use robots to pick up and pack mobile orders.
All stores, like Walmart and Target (TGT) – Get Free Report, have added more self-checkout lanes where customers can scan their own things and put them in their own bags. The technology saves money on labor, but it has also led to more theft, both on purpose and by mistake.
And most people don’t like the extra work that comes with it. Yes, some of us would rather not talk to anyone, and others only need a few things and want to get out of the store quickly. Most people, though, don’t like having to do work that someone else has already done.
Also, you have to find the barcode, bag the food, and wait for help if something doesn’t scan. Retailers act like people like it because the self-checkout line is usually shorter than the one with people working it.
That is a self-fulfilling prophecy: The people in charge of a store act like customers like self-checkout, even though they choose it because the regular checkout lines aren’t well-staffed.
Now, Kroger (KR) – Get Free Report has used the same reasoning to make a big change in one of its shops, which Walmart, Target, and other retailers could follow.
Kroger Goes All Self-Checkout
Kroger has switched to a self-checkout system. It’s only been used in a few stores so far, and only one has been proven. It has changed one of its stores in Tennessee, and it aims to change another.
“These allow our customers to scan and bag their own items,” Lauren Bell, corporate affairs manager for Kroger’s Nashville section, told WKRN. “The service is quick and friendly.”
The change was made because of how many people already use the self-checkout, the representative said.
Again, they may not use it because they don’t like it.
“Because if you went into that shop, they would only have one register open at most. People will use self-checkout more, of course,” csguydn wrote on Reddit.
Quite a few other people agreed with that remark.
“I came to say exactly the same thing. What a stupid thing to say. It would be like if the government said, “People love the DMV!” It’s used by everyone,'” Good-bye, Pluto said.
Several Reddit users also pointed out that self-checkout saves the business money, which isn’t always given back to customers.
“I was born in the 1960s, so you know how I feel about this. But hey, let’s look for more ways to get rid of work. The business group makes billions of dollars a year and thinks this is just another way to make more money. “Why pay a worker when the customer can do it?” miknob wrote.
Walmart and Dollar General Embrace Self-Checkout
Walmart and Dollar General (DG) – Get Free Report have already started testing shops with only self-checkout. Amazon doesn’t do the same kinds of tests at its Fresh grocery shops and Go convenience stores. These places use technology called “Just Walk Out,” which means there is no need for a standard checkout.
The problem for stores like Dollar General, (DG) – Get Free Report Walmart, and Target is that Just Walk Out technology involves keeping customers’ credit or debit cards on file in their apps. Amazon has a lot more of these cards on file than other stores, and most chains probably wouldn’t be able to easily get customers to give them this information.
A recent study found that more than half of all shopping checkouts are done at self-checkouts. This trend is likely to keep growing.