Albertsons LLC has announced that it will be removing all of its self-checkout lanes inside its grocery stores. The company is pulling all the self-checkout lanes from the roughly 100 of its stores that have them. MSNBC reported that the move is “in an effort to encourage more human contact with its customers … The move marks a surprising step back from a trend that began about a decade ago, when supermarkets began installing self-checkout lanes, touting them as a solution to long lines. Now some grocery chains are questioning whether they are really good for business.”
There are also recent reports that both Kroger and Publix are reconsidering the whole issue of self-checkout. “We just want the opportunity to talk to customers more,” says Albertsons spokeswoman Christine Wilcox. “That’s the driving motivation.”
Shortly after the announcement, SUPERVALU was quick to distance its Albertsons stores from those of the aforementioned by publishing a press release stating it will NOT be removing self-checkout lanes. Many other retailers have implemented this technology, including non-grocery companies such as Home Depot and Lowes. From a customer experience perspective, reports have been split on functionality and ease of use. Many times, an associate is needed to step in and assist, especially with large orders that tend to occur at grocery stores, bucking the ‘increased customer interaction’ theory. However, there’s always going to be a proportion of shoppers that are opposed to a full self-service model start to finish.
Brian List, Research Editor
Brian has been with Chain Store Guide since December 2006. He holds a bachelors degree in Marketing Management from Florida Southern College. Please contact him if you have questions or comments.