Fewer Supermarket Shoppers Using Self-Checkout Lanes

We wrote earlier this year about the decision by Albertsons LLC, which controls about 1/3 of that grocery store brand’s outlets, to shut down self-checkout machines in favor of human cashiers. Now a new report says we supermarket shoppers are just not using the self-checkout aisle as frequently as we were in recent years.

According to a Food Marketing Institute study, 16% of supermarket transactions were performed at self-checkout lanes in 2010, down from a peak of 22% three years earlier. Additionally, shoppers reported being much more satisfied with their supermarket experience when dealing with an actual human being.

Thus, more stores are dropping out of the self-checkout experiment. The latest is Big Y Foods, a regional New England chain with 61 locations.

From the AP

An internal study by Big Y found delays in its self-service lines caused by customer confusion over coupons, payments and other problems; intentional and accidental theft, including misidentifying produce and baked goods as less-expensive varieties; and other problems that helped guide its decision to bag the self-serve lanes.

Meanwhile, a rep for Stop & Shop tells the AP that the chain intends to keep self-checkout, if only to give customers more choices: “Our philosophy is giving customers options. People shop in different ways and we want to accommodate their preferences.”

Grocers start bagging self-serve checkouts [Chicago Tribune]