Walmart begins nixing self-checkouts and returning to ‘traditional’ lanes – here’s why

Walmart has decided to cut its losses due to theft via self-checkouts and will revert to “traditional” lanes claiming that it is an effort to improve the “in-store experience” for its customers.

The move by the mega-retailer is making many shoppers very unhappy but it’s also not surprising them. Many see right through the claim of improving their shopping experience and realize that the theft of merchandise cutting into Walmart’s bottom line is the real reason behind the change.

“In two stores – in Shrewsbury, Missouri, and Cleveland, Ohio – the retailer said it would replace kiosks with staffed checkout lanes which will ‘give our associates the chance to provide more personalized and efficient service,'” the Daily Mail reported.

“In reality, many retailers are ditching self-checkout kiosks because they are especially vulnerable to shoplifters – and the biggest retailer in the world’s U-turn could be a landmark moment,” the media outlet noted.

(Video Credit: KMOV St. Louis)

“Most of the rollback of self-checkouts is due to retailer concerns over theft,” Neil Saunders, who is a managing director of GlobalData, told the Daily Mail in an interview. “Theft rates at self-checkouts are reasonably high both because of deliberate actions and accidental mistakes. Forcing more customers to use manned checkouts resolves a lot of these issues and saves retailers money.”

“We’ve decided to remove self-checkout lanes and replace them with staffed lanes at select locations,” a spokesperson for Walmart said. “The decision was based on several factors, including feedback from associates and customers, shopping patterns, and business needs in the area.”

Although Walmart is contending that there is no current plan to replace all self-checkouts located in over 4,500 stores across the nation, numerous states are now reporting that traditional cashiers are replacing the convenience checkouts.

Theft and customer errors are taking a toll on the company. Items such as fruit, meat, and bakery items don’t have barcodes and have to be entered by the customer. Mistakes are made frequently either intentionally or by accident.

(Video Credit: TODAY)

“It comes after three stores in Albuquerque, New Mexico, did the same thing last year, the Albuquerque Journal reported at the time,” the Daily Mail wrote. “And a whole host of other retailers are making similar moves, Dollar General is taking the lanes away altogether, while it was recently revealed that Target was introducing sensors to detect thieving.”

In March, Dollar General announced that it would eliminate all self-checkout stands from 300 of its stores. In 9,000 outlets, the retailer is converting some of the self-checkout registers to cashier lanes. The business is also limiting self-checkout to five items or less in 4,500 stores.

“A new system uses cameras and sensors to detect items that shoppers fail to scan and will notify them with audio and visual cues,” the media outlet said concerning Target’s technology installations. “But the secretive technology – known as TruScan – is different from simply having CCTV cameras trained on the area that security staff watch. Instead, it is thought to use computers powered by artificial intelligence to monitor shoppers as they scan items.”

Target plans on outfitting all its stores with the cameras by the end of the year. Many of its self-checkout lanes are now only accepting ten items or less as well.


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