The problem with supermarkets and self service checkouts

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Self-service checkouts have been under fire ever since their roll out into stores and have been the blame for higher occurrences of theft. It would seem that the supermarkets have it all wrong.

The supermarkets lied to the public and told us that self-serve checkouts were being introduced to speed up our shopping experience. The truth was that it was a ploy to reduce staff and labour costs, the end game more profits in the supermarkets pocket.

One of the mistakes Coles and Woolworths have made was not to give back to the customer. The act of having a customer self-service checkout is saving the supermarket money on labour costs.

Where’s the advantage and benefits to the customer doing all the work? This is where customers become frustrated and entitled to hack the system.

There should have been a discount applied to people who use the self-service checkout the right way. Physiologically customers may be less likely to hack the system.

Coles and Woolworths are now taking further steps in the wrong direction by forcing customers to not hack the systems and the supermarkets still have no intention of providing an incentive to the customer for helping lower costs.

These tactics will only result in people retaliating against the supermarkets and lawmakers and drive people to purchase all their supermarket items online at cheaper prices.

A Citigroup report found that Coles’ supermarkets clocked up margins of 5.3 per cent and Woolworths 5 per cent (earnings before interest and tax to sales excluding fuel) compared with an EBIT margin of 1.4 per cent at Tesco, the market leader in Britain.

In reality, Australians are already paying much more for their groceries then they should be. There is room for Coles and Woolworths to provide a discount to use self-service checkouts.

If Coles and Woolworths do not change their attitudes very quickly, I do not see a future for them where customers are happy to shop with them.

Author’s Bio
Chet Carter is an Professional Journalist of 25 years, but has worked with a range of businesses giving him in-depth understanding of many different industries.


I'm a product researcher at Product Reviewer. I help fellow Aussie consumers make better buying decisions.

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