Shopping trips often take longer than you planned. Not only can be it be difficult to find the items you need on the shelves (especially in big-box retailers that are bolstering their online presence while stripping away their store experience), it can take forever to pay and get on with your day. Checkout lines can stretch five, six, and sometimes ten customers long when they are at the height of busyness.
That’s why many retailers have added the self-checkout lanes. Not only are they useful for people only buying a few items, but they also reduce the amount of staff the companies need to pay. But now Walmart has made an announcement that they are no longer going to try to increase the number of self-checkout lanes in their litany of stores. Here’s why.
Walmart introduced the “Scan and Go” technology for customers trying to get in-and-out as fast as possible. They were allowed to scan items on their phone as they browsed the store and then pay easily as they left. Then they would just go through the Mobile Express lane before leaving for a simple security check to prevent shoplifting.
Walmart was trying to solve a need. Customers want things faster than ever before, and the largest company in the world thought this would help. Not only did they think this could help a segment of customers, but they also hoped it would cut down on labor costs, making it great for their profits and shareholders.
“We’re always looking for new ways to help our customers save time, and these innovations are just the latest examples of how we continue to invest in our stores and bring greater convenience to customers,” Ray Korsch, a marketing manager with the giant retailer said in an official statement.
Customers feel differently. Customers don’t want to do more work while shopping at Walmart. And that’s exactly what self-checkout and the new “Scan and Go” technology does. Instead of hiring more cashiers, Walmart is pushing that work onto the customers so the corporation can save money.
When it comes to customer satisfaction, Walmart has a bad reputation. And the self-checkout machines and similar technology does not help. Instead of building experience with associates in-store, these kiosks make customers do everything themselves. Often it is not even faster.
“It took Walmart almost a year to figure out what the rest of us already know: You can’t convince customers to do the job of a cashier just because you don’t want to pay for the work, especially when eliminating cashiers doesn’t result in more convenient shopping,” said Randy Parraz, a Making Change at Walmart (MCAW) director.
Because the results were not impressive, Walmart will be hiring more cashiers. They want to get a higher customer satisfaction rating, and the human connection should be able to help.
Businesses have been thrusting more responsibility onto the customer for some time – self-checkout lanes, self-service gas, online shopping. All of this invisible work adds up and takes away from your precious personal time.