SELF-CHECKOUT LANES: Retailers Self-Scrutinize on Self-Checkout

Some major chains have announced in the past few years that they were removing self-checkout in an attempt to connect better with customers. This was a significant disinvestment: A self-checkout register costs more than six times as much as a regular, manned one.

Only 21.4 percent of the grocery respondents, and 5.6 percent of the convenience-store respondents, to an exclusive Retail Leader survey reported having self-checkout. Of those, a majority (54 percent) reported having two or more employees per shift dedicated to helping shoppers in the self-check lanes.

The most common shopper complaint about self-checkout is that they can't get items to scan: 36.4 percent reported hearing complaints along those lines. The next most common complaints were too-difficult user interface and problems with produce and other bulk items, at 18.2 percent apiece. Perhaps surprisingly, 27.3 percent reported hearing no complaints.

Respondents seemed to be optimistic about overall business conditions, with 48.6 percent calling them positive and only 11.4 percent negative. A majority (61.8 percent) said they expected positive conditions in the next six months.

Q:About what percentage of your sales are done by self-checkout?
Q: Have you added lanes or made other capital improvements to your self-checkout lanes in the past year?
Q:Do you plan to add lanes or make other capital improvements to your self-checkout lanes in the coming year?
How would you describe current business conditions?
Where do you expect to see business conditions for the next six months?