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In Seattle, KIRO-TV News reports that cooperative PCC Community Markets is removing all self-checkout lanes from its stores.

The company says that it stopped putting self-checkout in new stores three years ago.

Heather Snavely, VP of marketing at PCC, says that the company looked “at the relationship our shoppers have with our cashiers and our staff. And what we realized was a kiosk doesn’t create community or connections. So we wanted to take those out so that when someone comes into our stores, they have a human connection with someone and an interaction that will make the experience more special.”

Snavely also says that “removing the self-checkout machines won’t create any new jobs, they’ll just shuffle existing employees around. They’ll also build new express checkout lanes to replace the kiosks and keep the lines moving.”

The story notes that at this point in time, PCC’s move could be seen as counter-intuitive, since Amazon has been making news with its checkout-free Amazon Go stores, with other chains also seeking ways to streamline and/or eliminate the checkout process.
KC's View:
Good timing, considering that The Retail Feedback Group (RFG) annual Supermarket Experience Study, which we talked about here yesterday, specifically focusing on what retailers need to do in order to create a compelling in-store experience, mentioned that “too many shoppers are leaving the store without pleasant human contact.”

Of course, it isn’t as simple as just getting rid of self-checkouts. You have to have great people working for you who will serve as your ambassadors … and that isn’t common, or easy. But if companies like PCC are going to compete, they have to build on their strengths … and this should be one of them.