Grocery store chain ditches self-checkout after shopper backlash
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Grocery store chain ditches self-checkout after shopper backlash

Booths supermarket chain is removing nearly all of its self-checkout kiosks following customer feedback.

Despite the self-checkout trend, Booths, an upscale grocery store chain with most of its 28 locations in northern England, is moving against it. With thousands of self-checkouts, Tesco and Sainsbury’s have reduced the number of staffed checkouts in the U.K.

Rather than artificial intelligence, Booths is going for actual intelligence, according to managing director Nigel Murray. “We like to talk to people, and we are proud that we are moving to a place where our customers are served by people.”

In addition to being slow and unreliable, Murray said customers found Booth’s self-scan machines impersonal and unfriendly.

Murray told U.K.-based trade publication The Grocer that self-checkouts are not his favorite. Our company prides itself on great customer service and a robot cannot provide that.”

The Grocer learned from him that Booths first installed self-checkouts six years ago to improve efficiency and control labor costs. When purchasing alcohol, customers did not enjoy waiting for a staffer to validate their IDs, and there were issues with using the kiosks to check out produce items.

Booths is eliminating most of its self-checkout lanes, but it is keeping them at two of its busiest stores in the Lake District, which can be swamped with tourists during the summer.

U.S. retailers like Walmart and Wegmans are reevaluating their use of self-checkout lanes as Booths moves away from self-checkout lanes.

As a result of theft and testing, Walmart removed self-checkout lanes from several stores in Albuquerque, New Mexico.