With customers shopping in a digital age, internet services have helped strengthen the desire for instant gratification. Fewer individuals are willing to wait in line at stores, which is why many retail and grocery chains have invested in self-service kiosks. Consumers are able to check themselves out and avoid working with a representative altogether.
Walmart is one of many businesses that chose to invest in the new technology. A recent ComputerWorld article explored how the rise of self-checkout could impact stores and their customers.
While vendors want to increase shopper convenience and choice, some argue that the machines will take away jobs from workers and force managers to cut back some employees’ hours. However, Frank Levy, an MIT professor emeritus of urban economics, told ComputerWorld that producing the automated systems will create jobs, but the net overall effect might be job loss.
Walmart officials state that their employees will not lose pay or hours due to self-service kiosks, but that the overall rationale was about offering better customer service.
“It’s about offering our customers a choice in how they checkout,” Ashley Hardie, a Walmart spokeswoman, told the news source. Customers said “they are looking for an easier, more convenient way to shop in our stores.”
The retail giant has self-service checkout systems installed in about 1,800 stores. According to Walmart, some systems will be upgrading older ones, and the deployment should be completed by the end of this year. At that point, about 2,500 of Walmart’s approximately 4,000 stores will have self-checkout kiosks, which is about eight per store.
Consumers want convenience, but at the same time, they desire quality service. When businesses can offer professional online customer services along with a comprehensive phone system that includes text messaging services, it can ensure that shoppers are always able to reach a representative.