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Walmart Rolling Back to Self-Checkout Through Cashiers

Huge stores such as Target and Dollar General are making changes in their self-checkout system.
Cover Image Source: Exterior view from a Walmart store in Secaucus New Jersey | Getty Images | Photo by VIEWpress
Cover Image Source: Exterior view from a Walmart store in Secaucus New Jersey | Getty Images | Photo by VIEWpress

The retail industry is going through major changes making it essential for competitors to level up their games by following the trends. From technological advancements to shifts in consumer preferences, big retailers are constantly adapting to changes that make them relevant in the market. With Walmart attracting criticism for its self-checkout and aisles policy, the store announced that it will be changing its self-checkout ways by removing the self-service lanes at a store in Missouri. The change is done to compete with the other big retail players and the store will be getting rid of the self-service lanes and going old school i.e. self-checkouts through cashiers.


The decision was mostly formulated because of huge stores such as Target and Dollar General making changes in their self-checkout lanes. As per the MD retail at GolbalData Neil Saunders, "Retailers are pulling back, but not abandoning self-checkout. They are trying to see how this plays a role in the future, but it's not going to be the same thing they've done for decades, where it's a free-for-all, and anyone could use it. He further added while conversing with CBS MoneyWatch, "There is a lot more caution now". During and post-pandemic, the shoppers’ approach to these stores has changed and hence the usage of self-checkout lanes has increased. Clarifying the reasons behind the change, a Walmart spokesperson revealed, "We believe the change will improve the in-store shopping experience and give our associates the chance to provide more personalized and efficient service". 


People preferred the self-checkout lanes during the pandemic as it helped them make minimal contact with other customers and on the other hand it also helped the understaffed stores. But now as the situation is clearing up, people are inclined towards going to the traditional ways of checkout. Many big stores have already implemented it as they have seen cases of people stealing items from self-checkout areas. Saunders further commented on the situation and said, "Retailers are very actively trying to reduce it, or in Target's case put more restrictions around self-checkout to try to reduce the losses they incur from it". Walmart seeing the market trends has announced, "As part of our announced plans for additional investments and improvements to stores across the country. We're converting the self-checkout lanes at our 7437 Watson Road store in Shrewsbury, MO., to traditional checkout lanes".


It's just not the Walmart that has seen cases of theft at self-checkouts but another giant Costco found out that many people were using fake membership cards and non-members were sneaking into the self-checkout lanes. This made the process messy and challenging for them. The store revealed that despite their precautionary measures such as levying hefty charges, and compulsory membership, self-checkout thefts have increased in 2023. They strongly believe that is because of the conceptual roll-out of self-checkouts.


Another alternative to stop these theft scams at the self-checkout lanes is to implement a scanning gateway that will scan all the receipts before you leave the store. This will not just ensure an added security layer but will also indulge a sense of fear in the customers who are yearning to steal.