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Why could you see more self-checkouts in the future?

The pandemic accelerated the switch over to customers swiping their own groceries.

HOUSTON — Love ‘em or hate ‘em self-checkouts are here to stay.

According to the Wall Street Journal, automation at supermarkets has kicked into overdrive. During the COVID pandemic, the stores turned to self-checkouts to soothe customers' and workers’ fears over cross-contamination.

Stores struggle to keep workers

It also helped stores struggling to keep frontline workers. While the pandemic has eased and concerns over spreading COVID are not as high, stores are still struggling with staffing.

Now, the Food Industry Association reports that self-checkouts are nearly twice as widespread as before the pandemic.

30% of all transactions

Self-checkouts represented 30% of all grocery store transactions last year. Some companies, including Walmart, Kroger, and Dollar General are testing out stores that have only self-checkouts. This comes as staff turnover rates at grocery stores remain high.

The companies claim the move to self-checkouts is not about the labor crisis but an effort to improve the customer experience. Not all shoppers would agree with that.

In a 2021 survey, two-thirds of shoppers reported experiencing a failure at a self-checkout lane. Some stores are trying to improve the technology with smart carts that ring up items as you shop. H-E-B is testing tech that scans an entire basket at once.

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