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Industry Expert Predicts "Demise of Self-Checkouts" and What's Coming Next

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Industry Expert Predicts "Demise of Self-Checkouts" and What's Coming Next




<p>Self-checkout kiosks are arguably the biggest change in retail over the past few years. But while the technology was brought on to make getting out of the store more efficient, customers have largely <a rel="noopener noreferrer" href=" target="_blank">pushed back on the machines</a> as being confusing to use, impersonal, and potentially even risky for anyone who forgets to scan an item. Now, as some companies are beginning to show signs of cooling on the newly implemented cash registers, industry experts predict the "demise of self-checkouts" may be on the horizon. Keep reading to learn what may be next in the retail history chapter.</p>
<p><strong>RELATED: <a rel="noopener noreferrer" href=" target="_blank">Walmart Worker Issues Warning to Shoppers About Self-Checkout</a>.</strong></p>
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<div class="title">An industry expert says signs point to the "demise of self-checkout" coming soon.</div>
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<p><img decoding="async" fetchpriority="high" class="alignnone wp-image-508885 size-large" src=" alt="Man using self-checkout at supermarket" width="1024" height="683" /></p>
<p>On a wave hope, self-checkout kiosks entered service. Both retailers and customers hoped to reduce the time spent in lines. But in the years since they've become commonplace, the relationship <a rel="noopener noreferrer" href=" target="_blank">between shoppers and the machines</a> has become strained, to say the least.</p>
<p>From dreaded "wrong item weight" errors springing up to confusion while trying to select the right produce, many customers have become fed up with the now complicated process—especially when they're asked to <a rel="noopener noreferrer" href=" target="_blank">leave a tip</a>. Retailers have also faced increased "shrink," with one study finding stores that have self-checkout typically have a theft or loss rate that's <a rel="noopener noreferrer external nofollow" href=" target="_blank">more than double</a> the industry average, CNN reports.</p>
<p>Several companies are already implementing changes. CNN reported that the U.K. supermarket Booths, based in London, made headlines by announcing it would discontinue its self-checkout machine due to complaints from customers. In the U.S. Wegmans stopped offering an app which allowed customers to pay and scan items using their phones after it saw a rise in theft.</p>
<p>With angst on both sides of the equation, experts including food industry analyst <strong>Phil Lempert</strong> think this means a significant change is likely coming.</p>
<p>"I think we are going to see the demise of self-checkouts very soon," he told local Milwaukee, Wisconsin, CBS affiliate WDJT in a recent interview.</p>
<p><strong>RELATED: <a rel="noopener noreferrer" href=" target="_blank">Shoppers Are Abandoning Costco, New Data Reveals—Here's Why</a>.</strong></p>
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<div class="title">Recent accusations of shoplifting have pushed the situation beyond inconvenience.</div>
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<p>But while a confusing interface can sometimes lead to longer checkout times for some shoppers, it's also proven to have much more serious consequences for others. Lempert says that the absence of human interaction during the payment process has caused incidents that require more staff and security guards to monitor the process. In worst-case scenarios innocent customers have been accused of shoplifting.</p>
<p>"They were brought back to the security room and threatened they were going to be arrested for not scanning a tube of toothpaste," he told WDJT.</p>
<p>Other <a rel="noopener noreferrer" href=" target="_blank">lawsuits and proposed legislation</a> have also taken aim at self-checkout, bringing more pressure on retailers. One lawmaker in Illinois proposed <a rel="noopener noreferrer external nofollow" href=" target="_blank">a high tax</a> on each machine used by stores for removing a job while not reducing prices. And a Rhode Island lawmaker proposed legislation that would require stores to give customers using self-checkout a <a rel="noopener noreferrer external nofollow" href=" target="_blank">10 percent discount</a> for doing the work themselves.</p>
<p>Coupled with customer complaints of how inefficient the process is, Lempert says it's not surprising that retailers would reconsider their stances on the technology. "It's a horrible experience; you're bound to make mistakes, it's bound to go down," he told WDJT.</p>
<p><strong>RELATED: <a rel="noopener noreferrer" href=" target="_blank">How Self-Checkout Is Making You Spend More, New Study Reveals</a>.</strong></p>
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<div class="title">Lempert believes products like "smart carts" are likely the future.</div>
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<p><img decoding="async" class="alignnone wp-image-447571 size-large" src=" alt="Albertson's smart cart in front of product section" width="1024" height="953" /></p>
<p>Even though paying for a kiosk may soon be gone, technology is still going to play an important role in the overall shopping experience. Lempert suggests that other <a rel="noopener noreferrer" href=" target="_blank">advances like "smart carts"</a> may start to emerge as the industry norm.</p>
<p>Stores like Wegmans have already announced plans to roll out AI-powered carts developed by an Israeli company, Shopic, which can scan items placed into it with <a rel="noopener noreferrer external nofollow" href=" target="_blank">99.4 percent accuracy</a>, <em>Forbes</em> reports. Retailers like Kroger, Sobey's, and Wakefern are also experimenting with grocery delivery company Instacart's Caper AI tech in some of their stores. And Amazon has recently fine-tuned its <a rel="noopener noreferrer external nofollow" href=" target="_blank">Dash Carts</a> after initially testing them in 2020 with plans to roll them out to Whole Foods stores, Supermarket News reports.</p>
<p>"Essentially, what we're trying to do here at Shopic is to bridge the gap between e-commerce and in-person shopping experiences," Shopic CEO and co-founder <strong>Raz Golan</strong> previously told <em>Best Life</em>. "Given the extent to which people have gotten used to the conveniences of e-commerce, there are certain aspects of that experience that are only possible in a digital-first environment."</p>
<p>The new technology could make shopping trips faster by helping customers locate items immediately—not to mention saving the time spent waiting in line to scan and pay, <strong>Julie Ramhold</strong>, a <a rel="noopener noreferrer external nofollow" href=" target="_blank">consumer analyst</a> with DealNews.com previously told <em>Best Life</em>. Smart carts could also help you stay on budget by tallying up what you've spent as you go.</p>
<p><strong>RELATED: <a rel="noopener noreferrer" href=" target="_blank">Walmart Rolling Out Controversial New Shopping Carts: "These Are Terrible."</a></strong></p>
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<div class="title">…But there could still be a few drawbacks to this technology, too.</div>
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<p><img decoding="async" class="alignnone size-large wp-image-447569" src=" alt="Product image of Shopic's smart shopping cart clip-ons" width="1024" height="576" /></p>
<p>As with any new technology, future shopping carts may not be foolproof. The ease of paying could make it more likely you'll overspend as you continue to fill your cart, Ramhold previously told <em>Best Life</em>. And some shoppers may simply not want to take the time to go and put something back, even if it's sent them over their budget.</p>
<p>Perhaps most importantly, the tech also doesn't totally eliminate the issue of theft or "shrink." Some customers will choose not to scan certain items. This is similar to an issue Wegmans had with their app. Carts may still be in a much better position than the kiosks.</p>
<p>"The good thing about smart shopping carts is that they use the tech to actually see when something has been added or removed from a cart, which is a great solution in theory," Ramhold previously told <em>Best Life</em>. "But if the tech malfunctions or isn't as precise for some reason, then it may make it easier for consumers to shoplift, which can hurt a store's bottom line."</p>
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