Self-Checkouts: Better Service or More Work?

Mar 17, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson

A Boston Globe article about self-checkouts asks the question, “What’s in it for me?”

Bruce Mohl of the Globe recently watched consumers testing a self-checkout at the Design & Usability Testing Center at Bentley College in Waltham, Mass.

Consumers involved in the testing found the technology relatively easy to use, although problems such as identifying and scanning produce were sometimes a challenge.

One of the testers, Janice McMahon of Watertown, Mass., said she would use self-checkouts if she only had a few items and the lanes with cashiers were long.

The self-checkout appeal for some and drawback to others is its DIY nature. Ms. McMahon asked, “Why am I doing all of this work? What’s the benefit here?”

Moderator’s Comment: How would you answer Ms. McMahon’s
questions? “Why am I doing all of this work? What’s the benefit here?”

Consumers understand that self-checkouts are intended,
at least in part, to reduce a store’s labor costs. Consumers are going to want
to share in the savings. [George
Anderson – Moderator

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