Major Retailers Reconsider Self-Checkout Lanes: What Does it Mean for You?

Do you remember the last time you visited a major big box store like Walmart? Did you have to scan your own items using the self-checkout? Self-checkout lanes have gained popularity over the years, but not everyone is a fan of this technology advancement, leading to customer complaints. However, there is good news for those who prefer interacting with a cashier. Some major retailers are now considering reducing the number of self-checkout lanes.

The introduction of self-checkout lanes began in the 1980s and gained significant popularity in the 2000s. Then, during the pandemic, these lanes exploded in popularity as they helped minimize interactions between employees and customers, keeping everyone safe. Initially, the idea behind self-checkout lanes was to reduce labor expenses. While many people appreciate the convenience of scanning their own items, others find it frustrating and believe that it should be the job of a store employee.

Alongside the increase in customer complaints, retailers also noticed a higher number of losses resulting from customer errors and shoplifting incidents. In fact, a study conducted in 2016 revealed that retailers with self-checkout lanes and apps experienced a loss rate of about 4%, which is more than double the industry standard. In response, some stores are planning to completely eliminate self-checkout lanes.

Earlier this year, some Walmart stores in New Mexico removed their self-checkout lanes due to customer dissatisfaction, and a ShopRite in Delaware followed suit after receiving numerous complaints. Wegmans, which used to allow customers to scan and pay using an app as they shopped, has also discontinued this feature. Costco has taken a different approach by increasing the number of employees near their self-checkout lanes to prevent non-members from using cards that do not belong to them.

So, what do you think about the potential disappearance of self-checkout lanes? Personally, I don’t mind them, and I hope most stores will keep at least a few around. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section