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Self-Checkout: Helping or Hurting?

April 17th, 2012 at 10:00 am

self checkout terminal at home depot

Remember when self-checkout lines were scary, foreign objects in your local supermarket? People’s opinions were typically “Why should I scan my own groceries when I’m paying cashiers’ salaries?” Well, that sentiment seems to be a thing of the past. Not only grocery stores but CVS, Home Depot, and even IKEA have recently implemented self-scan machines. (Home Depot’s self-serve checkouts even accept PayPal!)

It seems Americans enjoy the idea of checkout independence. Many argue that it saves the customer time through shorter lines, and allows employees to be more effective by overseeing more registers and spending more time on customer service. A study published by NCR in 2008 showed 72% of Americans are more likely to shop at locations offering self-service options than those that do not.

On the other hand, sometimes the idea of self-checkout is more appealing than its execution. Headaches over machinery complications and failures, and slow checkout by customers leave something to be desired. Some large grocers such as Alberton and Kroger have scaled back on self-checkout lanes to increase interaction with customers and keep lines moving.

What’s your opinion? Do these self-checkout systems help improve customer service and increase customer satisfaction? Or are they putting the average customer to work? Let us know what you think!

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