Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, numerous companies have changed their policies and have sought new strategies to aid their business.
To help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 among its customers, Walmart has recently launched its touch-free payment system, Walmart Pay.
The company also announced it would be streamlining their applications to allow customers to shop online for everything from groceries to apparel and electronics.
Now, the retail giant is experimenting with a self-checkout-only model, in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and if it proves to be successful, the new system will be applied in all its locations.
There is only one reason for this strategy- cost savings, and almost all store across the country offer their customers to choose between the traditional cashier model or self-checkout machines.
Yet, Walmart now takes things even further.
According to the retailer, in an attempt to speed up the checkout process, the store won’t have cashiers, but self-checkout hosts at the front, whose role will be to help customers and even check their groceries if they prefer it.
Walmart spokesperson Kory Lundberg explained:
“In our Fayetteville store, we’re redesigning what that front-end checkout looks like, so it will look a little bit different to customers. However, customers will continue to have all of the same options they’ve always had when it comes to checking out, whether they want to check out with an associate scanning their items and bagging their groceries, or if they want to use a self-checkout.
What we are looking at in this new setup is … how can we move people through a checkout experience quicker at a Walmart? How can we shorten the lines, how can we move people through and get them onto the rest of their day as quickly as possible?”
The company plans to put the same setup in place in all its stores in case things go well.
They explained that the timing will depend on several factors, such as the input from employees and customers, as they want the process to be easy for them all.
Those who support the idea of self-checkout machines claim that they provide them with the privacy and autonomy they need during shopping.
Yet, many people oppose this idea, seeing it all simply, as “unpaid work”.
Craig Lambert, author of Shadow Work: The Unpaid, Unseen Jobs That Fill Your Day, claims that nowadays, we ended up doing a lot of work that was once done by someone else:
“You may choose to do it — some people think it saves them time, gets them out of the gas station quicker. But there is a price to be paid.”
Moreover, many customers explain that they find these machines hard to use. Others worry that many cashiers will be put out of work. Therefore, we won’t lose all cashiers, at least not yet. Many customers prefer them, and many retailers are not willing to lose their customers due to it.
When it comes to America’s largest retailer, we can wait and see what happens in Arkansas. In case the experiment goes well, customers won’t use a cashier on their counters.
However, back in 2018, Walmart had a similar unsuccessful trial, so it ended its Scan & Go program, which allowed customers to pay for items as they browsed the store and skip the checkout line.