Big-Box Stores moving away from self-service

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A recent trend has emerged among some big-box retailers, including Canadian Tire and Walmart, as they move away from self-checkout machines in favor of traditional cashier-based checkouts. This shift, highlighted in a CBC News report, marks a significant reversal from the initial embrace of self-checkout technology that promised to cut labor costs and speed up transactions.

Dwayne Ouelette, the owner of a Canadian Tire store in North Bay, Ontario, removed self-checkout machines to enhance customer service. He stated, “I’m not comfortable using them and I don’t think some of my customers are comfortable [either].” This sentiment reflects a broader dissatisfaction among customers and store owners alike with self-checkout systems.

Retail adviser David Ian Gray noted that while self-checkout was initially seen as a technological advancement to improve customer experience, it has led to various issues, including technical glitches and increased theft. The lack of supervision at these self-service checkouts has contributed to a rise in theft, a concern echoed across the retail industry.

A study funded by the industry revealed that 23% of store losses could be attributed to theft and customer error at self-checkouts. Additionally, a survey by LendingTree found that 15% of Americans admitted to stealing at self-checkout machines.

Canadian Tire in North Bay, under the management of Derek Shogren, ditched self-checkout not only due to theft concerns but also to implement a new system where all customers wait in a single line for the next available cashier. This move aims to better manage the flow of customers, especially considering the large items typically sold at Canadian Tire.

Customers have expressed their preference for this new format, valuing the personal interaction with cashiers. The report indicates a growing trend where shoppers and retailers are increasingly favoring traditional checkout experiences over automated ones.

Sources include: CBC News

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