Woolworths introduces self-serve checkouts

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Woolworths introduces self-serve checkouts

Woolworths shoppers will be among Australia’s first to be able to conduct self-serve checkouts as the company begins a rollout in more than 70 of its supermarkets.

Already, 16 self-serve checkouts have been installed at Woolworths supermarkets, with another 70 stores expected to be fitted out with at least four checkouts each by the end of June.

Although Woolworths declined to reveal the cost of the project, according to the Australian Financial Review, it is estimated that the rollout will cost approximately $7 million this year and more than $20 million next year.

Supplied by global technology company, NCR, the FastLane Self Serve Checkouts allow customers to scan, weigh and pay for their own groceries quickly and easily, using cash, credit or debit cards. The system can also dispense petrol reward dockets, mobile phone top up vouchers and allow customers to take cash out.

“Self Serve Checkouts are a really convenient option for customers and we have had tremendously positive feedback from shoppers who have used them. We are delighted to now introduce them to more stores and more customers,” said Woolworths general manager of retail operations, Marty Hamnett.

A number of safeguards have been built into the Self Serve Checkouts to ensure shoplifting is minimised, Hamnett said. Every saleable item has its own distinct weight associated with a barcode that must be scanned and tallied when checking out. As such, thieves are prevented from bagging additional unpaid items without scanning them first. If the bag weight does not match weight calculations based on product barcodes, staff are alerted.

The checkouts are also said to be user-friendly, featuring clear, animated instructions and voice prompts. Woolworths said at least one member of staff would always be stationed close by to talk customers through the technology, or to help out if assistance is required.

“In all the stores where we have trialled this technology, customers have really embraced it. It is now so popular that approximately 20% of transactions go through the Self Serve Checkouts. Of course they will never fully replace standard or express checkouts, but they are certainly a handy alternative for the busy shopper,” Hamnett said.
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