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Self-checkout options expanding: Where you may see them next

Self Serve Checkouts
Posted at 12:08 PM, Jan 18, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-18 14:11:25-05

Self-checkouts aren't just for grocery stores anymore.

Stores like Kohls, H&M, Bed Bath & Beyond and Zara have started testing out the self-checkouts in stores.

"The timing for department stores to test this out is actually great because consumers are really at a different place in terms of using technology within a store," said Shelly Kohan, a retail expert with Syracuse University. "An accelerant that came out of the pandemic is the consumer's comfort with using technology."

Kohan said efficiency is a benefit for customers. For companies, it saves on the cost of hiring employees. Instead of needing one worker for every register, an employee can watch over numerous self-checkout kiosks.

However, there are risks with offering a self-checkout option. They can frustrate customers who aren't tech-savvy. Theft is also another major concern.

"Theft in terms of customers either scanning a lower price of an item, but putting a more expensive one in their bag, theft in terms of not scanning something and just putting it in the bag. And sometimes, you know, you have customers that just make mistakes when they're scanning, and that's really not intentional, but it's still going to be a loss," Kohan noted.

There are also questions about what to do about security tags on certain items. Some stores are using wireless RFID security tags that deactivate when it's scanned.

Kohan said department stores have the benefit of learning from the mistakes and successes of grocery stores with self-checkout lanes. She believes that will lead to a shorter learning curve.