Will Retailers Bag Self-Checkout Option?

CHICAGO (CBS) — Supermarkets across the country are beginning to bag self-serve checkout lanes.

Industry experts say shoppers can expect some changes here in the Chicago area.

CBS2’s Dorothy Tucker reports on why retailers are taking a second look at this convenience.

The human voice inside the automated machine, guiding us through the self checkout lane, was introduced about 10 years ago.

“I think it’s fantastic. Because you want to get in and get out,” Dominick’s shopper Curtis Turner says.

Turner is in the minority.

According to a survey by Food Marketing Institute, only 16 percent of supermarket transactions in 2010 were done at self-checkout lanes. Those who avoid the lanes complain about confusion, problems weighing produce, among other problems.

“A lot of times I want to cash a check and you can’t do that self-checkout,” Jewel shopper Sharon Casey says.

Consumer complaints are one reason experts say some retailers are removing self-checkout lanes on the East Coast and reconsidering it in other areas. The rising cost of food is another incentive. Prices are expected to jump nearly 10 percent this year, so the stores are pushing service.

“It’s now going to be all about relationships,” says Phil Lampert, editors of Supermarketguru.com.

But don’t expect all the self-serve lanes to disappear in the Chicago area. Lampert says stores like Jewel and Dominick’s and CVS will make the decisions based on location. 

Lampert predicts self-checkout lanes will stay in the city, where there is a younger lunchtime crowd, but be reduced in the suburbs where older customers have more time.

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