What To Make Of Unexpected News Stories In The Bagging Area?

If you were to read the press and social media, you could be forgiven for thinking that we have now reached the end of the growth of self-checkout in North America.

In the US, Target is now limiting access to self-checkout lanes for shoppers buying 10 items or fewer.

Dollar General is making three changes to its self-checkout strategy to get a grip on increasing retail losses. 

  1. Converting many self-service lanes to staff-assisted checkouts
  2. Limiting self-checkout transactions to five items or fewer
  3. Completely removing self-checkout from its 300 highest-shrink stores.

Meanwhile, Canadian retailer Loblaw is introducing gated receipt scanners at the exit to self-checkout lanes. The aim is to further control losses.

But behind these eye-catching headlines, we see no hard evidence that the pace of self-checkout adoption is declining. 

What we hear most about is the expansion of self-checkouts, with the introduction of larger self-service payment areas designed for shopping carts/trollies, the use of hybrid SCO’s and momentum building on the Scan & Go proposition and several retailers in our SCO working group trialling smart carts.

We also note, the growth of Self-Checkout deployments beyond just the supermarket, with deployments in fashion, drug, forecourt retail, club and cash & carry, home improvement, duty free shopping and discounters.

ECR Retail Loss have been hosting regular online and in-person meetings on self-checkouts for over 15 years, with participation from the self-checkout experts from over 100 different retail business’s from around the world. 

This group has commissioned and published multiple research papers on their impact on losses and the interventions that can reduce frustrations, improve scan accuracy, and decrease the # of walkaways. 

Our latest report New design thinking for SCO | Ecr Shrink Group (ecrloss.com) offers innovative approaches from young designers to self-checkout stagnation. 

It uses human-centred design techniques to tackle associated retail losses while creating an all-round better experience for staff and shoppers. 

Based on the positive retailer responses, we can expect to see adaptations of these ideas in store soon!

Rehumanising the Self Checkout Experience

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Mar 21, 2024