experience

Self-Checkout Tech Hasn't Caught Up to Retailers' Needs

Self-checkouts aren't frictionless yet.
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Francis Scialabba

· less than 3 min read

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“Easily triggered and asks for the manager” describes both my grandma and self-checkout kiosks.

Finicky weight sensors at self-checkouts have annoyed customers so much, they’re forcing retailers to rethink what kind of self-checkout tech they use—even if it means risking theft, per the WSJ.

  • Walmart quietly disabled or removed weight sensors from its self-checkouts.
  • It’s now investing in data-gathering cameras to track purchases from a distance.

Why it matters: Self-checkout stations are an obvious move for the likes of Target, Walmart, and Costco because they reduce labor costs and speed up transactions. But the tech making self-checkout possible is imperfect, which makes it easier for shoppers to walk away with a steak they didn’t scan. (Which they do.)

But honest people prefer to be left alone. Despite retailers’ efforts to make grocery shopping an “experience,” customers want to get their groceries and get out. Nearly half of consumers choose unattended channels like self-checkout because they're faster than the cashier, according to a PYMNTS.com and USA Technologies study. Over a third choose them to avoid talking to employees.

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