retail news in context, analysis with attitude

MSNBC reports that while there has been much coverage of the decision by Albertsons LLC to pull self-checkout systems from its supermarkets, there remains considerable evidence that other retailers are confident that the systems offer their customers a desired option.

According to the story, “Self-checkout suppliers raked in $524.1 million worldwide in 2010, a 46 percent increase from 2007, according to technology research firm VDC Research Group, which projects growth of 84 percent over the next five years. As technology improves, self-checkout likely will migrate into store aisles as customers armed with smart phones use new apps to scan and pay for items on the spot.”

The story goes on: “Not everyone loves the trend, of course. Of more than 160,000 who voted on an msnbc.com survey, about 35 percent said they loved self-checkout lanes while 37 percent said they hated them. About 28 percent said they used them when they had to.”
KC's View:
The great thing is that the 37 percent who don’t like self-checkout don;t have to use the technology.

In the weeks following the Albertsons LLC announcement, by the way, the message I’ve gotten from a lot of people - including company insiders - is that this was less a strategic decision than a financial one. People say that the Albertsons LLC equipment was antiquated, and that the company simply did not want to invest in modern technology. So it was better to turn it into an advantage, talking about personal customer service, rather than admitting that it was a bottom line call.