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Walmart may replace cashiers with self-checkout kiosks

Published Jun 17th, 2020 9:09PM EDT
Walmart Self Checkout
Image: Anton Gvozdikov/Shutterstock

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  • Walmart is experimenting with the idea of replacing cashiers at its stores with self-checkout kiosks.
  • The experiment will start with one store in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
  • Walmart may opt to expand its cashier-less checkout to other stores depending on customer feedback and whether or not such a setup helps speed up the checkout process.

Walmart is exploring the option of removing cashiers and relying exclusively on self-checkout lines, according to a report from Fox Business. Walmart’s move here is partially due to the coronavirus and the company’s efforts to limit human interaction as much as possible. All the same, Walmart over the past few years has been pushing towards a more autonomous checkout process and has slowly but surely added more self-checkout kiosks to many of its stores across the country.

Walmart’s experiment will begin with a lone store in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The company says that it’s aiming to see to what extent checkout times speed up or slow down without cashiers and the traditional conveyer belt. Notably, there will still be workers at the Fayetteville store tasked with ensuring that the self-checkout process runs smoothly.

The report notes:

A spokesperson for the company told FOX Business that Walmart Supercenter Store #359 is removing its conveyor belt lanes and replacing them with self-checkout counters. The goal is to see if the increased use of self-checkout will speed up purchases while providing a safer experience for shoppers through less interaction.

According to the company, employees will be available to help with self-checkout and will also check out groceries like normal for those who want the traditional shopping experience.

While limited human interaction might be a perk in the age of the coronavirus, it’s clear that Walmart is also looking to cut costs if it can. More than any other company you can think of, Walmart is notorious when it comes to pinching pennies and coming up with borderline obsessive ways to limit spending. To this point, there was a famous Walmart legal case many years ago where it was revealed that employees at a Walmart office location were encouraged not to use more than two paper towels when washing their hands in the bathroom.

Walmart, of course, isn’t alone in this regard. Broadly speaking, many corporations are slowly but surely eliminating jobs and replacing them with standalone kiosks. As a prime example, many fast food restaurants across the country — including national chains like McDonald’s and Taco Bell — are relying more heavily upon kiosks where customers punch in their order as opposed to giving it to a cashier.

Taking things even further, you might recall that Amazon in 2018 started rolling out its line of Go stores which don’t even have a checkout process. Instead, users walk in and walk out with their items in hand. A myriad of sensors spread throughout the store keep track of what each consumer walks out with and then charges their Amazon account accordingly.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.

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