The Associated Press News reported on an interesting poll this week showing that 70% of people prefer a hybrid store that allows you to choose between self-checkout and traditional human-operated cash registers. Personally, I found this outcome a little surprising.
Where we live we have a Walmart and a Kroger side by side. We use both stores. The self checkout at Walmart works easily even with fresh produce that needs to be weighed. Kroger, on the other hand, has a self check out system that never shuts up. It is constantly nagging at you to do this or that. We seem to need much more help with stoppages and cryptic messages in Kroger. The upshot is that we always use self checkout at Walmart and never at Kroger.
To add my 2 cents, I would indulge in a comparison of Sam's club and Costco. I found it interesting that the patronage for both are somewhat comparable and high. (Disclaimer: my study is unscientific and through discussions with 20 -30 people at various Christmas parties).
Men or people who generally know what they want to get and want to be in and out of the store prefer to go to Sam's club. Reason : The store layout is predictable, the "scan and go" is a big hit, you can walk to the aisle where what you want is located, put it into your cart and scan it into your app as you put it in, complete your transaction without waiting in any queue or waiting for a cashier. Also there seem to enough staff covering the various sections of the store that help when you cannot find what you are looking for.
Women or people who generally want to go discover new and novel / seasonal products and are not in a hurry undoubtedly like COSTCO and go there like a religion! Reason: Its a treasure hunt and something they get to brag about with friends ("look what I got from COSTCO!!"), COSTCO seems to be manning their self checkout lanes as well to keep the flow of checkouts fast so technology challenged people are not slowing the flow. So the pool of people I talked to are very tolerant and say they are quite efficient with their check outs!
Home Depot and Lowes is an interesting comparison too. Lowes stories have more spacious aisles and cleaner stores. But to keep stores lean, they are low on staff. At Home Depot on the other hand you can run into a store associate quite easily and they tend to be older senior people and they tend to be more approachable and friendly. Both stores have invested in their websites and apps to show you the aisle and shelfs (for the browsing savy) that you really do not need to look for help.
Both stores have invested big on curb side pickup model. Their self check outs are equally good too. So my thesis is that the retail companies are looking at catering to two types of people in their own ways. Those that want that experience of walking the aisles and discovering things and enjoying their shopping and those that want to be in and out. Statistically, both categories needs and spend levels are comparable. Do you agree?
If stores were willing to man all of their registers, then I would greatly prefer going to a cashier. Instead of 6 self-checkout stations, the store had 6 more clerks checking people out, that would be amazing. But the alternative would more likely just be a single additional clerk, maybe two.
I like the version that costs the stores more money. But between waiting in line for 20 minutes to have someone else scan my groceries versus waiting 10 minutes to do it myself, I'll do the self-checkout line every time.
Being handicaped and using a mobility scooter to get around it is very difficult to scan and bag items one at a time then lifting the bags off the bagging area is difficult now i go to the store for the somewhat conveinence i dont go there to work checking and bagging and loading my own groceries when i leave the store thats when it becomes my responsibility no while im paying them to buy their products
I've always assumed that customers of grocery stores are much 'stickier' than (especially fast food) restaurants. Do you think this is a poor assumption? If not, is there really a downside for grocery stores to push an inconvenience cost on customers as long as it doesn't push them to something like a grocery delivery service (again, I imagine there is a significant chasm to bridge for that to happen)? All the more-so if all peer-grocery store competitors essentially have the same self-check-out configuration. (I agree with one of the other commenters that there is currently experiential differentiation between some stores, but the nature of the friction seems very 'fixable', either via better tech or physical configuration)
--A die-hard self-checker. :-)
It seems the author would rather have long lines behind 3 cashiers than 2 cashiers and one helper running 15 self check out kiosks. My experience is the self check out line moves faster if they can keep the machines from breaking down. They will never put out a fourth cashier
Self checkout gives you no discount for doing the work yourself Those machines will never pay taxes, send kids to school, or need medical care or retirement. For those reasons, I have never used one! Nothing wrong with standing in line and conversing with members of my community.
Do these kiosk that are taking human jobs pay taxes? Social Security, State & Federal, I believe this is just corporate greed. Open up another cashier and give somebody a job
Can I get and employee discount for working ( the kiosk is free labor) if not I need a cashier that's getting paid to scan and cash me out