Say Goodbye to Cashiers! Walmart Store Switches to Self-Checkout Only
Walmart could be saying goodbye to cashiers in its stores in the future. According to their corporate website, they’re trying a new model using all self-checkout stations at one of their stores. If it works out, they may very well be swapping out people-powered check stands for 100% self-serve.
An experimental checkout experience at a Supercenter in Fayetteville, Arkansas, seeks to challenge the assumption that old ways are better.
With the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, retailers and restaurants worldwide are struggling to maintain their businesses. Many are looking for ways to cut costs and not lose profits.
Is Self Check Better?
Of course, Walmart isn’t the only store with self-check registers. Many grocery stores, home improvement stores and other big-box stores have cash registers where customers can scan products and pay without a cashier’s assistance. But, imagine a store with no cashiers? Here are a few reasons Walmart might be considering this new model:
It’s cheaper. One obvious reason could be that they don’t have to pay cashiers. The cost of paying an employee to ring up purchases is substantially more than having the customer use a machine to do it. For example, one report found that checking in for a flight with an airport employees cost about $3, whereas checking with at a kiosk cost only 14 cents. On the other hand, the cost to install self-check terminals is substantial and may outweigh the savings. Of course, once the equipment is installed it would pay for itself. Sales clerks earn $11.70 an hour on average, or just over $24,000 a year, according to the BLS. So, while a typical self-checkout set-up costs store owners about $149,000 in the first year — it costs only about $24,000 a year after that, compared to $96,000 every year for a more traditional arrangement.
Theft. One downside is the threat of increased theft. If people are left to their own, will they actually scan everything in their cart? And, if they don’t will anyone know? If theft increases, then would stores lose money and prices go up to cover losses? Some automated registers even have theft deterrents in place which detect fraudulent transactions through AI-enabled video.
No in-person encounters. Another argument for going solely to self-checkout is social distancing. However, that may not always be a need.
It’s faster. Some think so, but others disagree. Oftentimes, more check stands can be open even if employees aren’t available. So, there’s more available to use. But, trained cashiers are likely to be faster at checking out customers than customers are at checking out themselves. Plus, if there’s a problem you have to wait for the employee who often oversees 10 or more self-check registers.
“Customers love it.” That is debatable! Some do; but, some do not. What do you think?