advertisement
advertisement
advertisement

Albertsons LLC Ditching Self-Checkout Chainwide

Written by Evan Schuman
July 6th, 2011

In what might be the first hints of trouble for grocery self-checkout, the 217-store Albertsons LLC grocery chain confirmed Tuesday (July 6) that it is yanking self-checkout systems from all of its stores because of a “very high focus on customer service.” This comes on the heels of word from Kroger that it is experimenting with a self-checkout-less store design and an IHL report last week that “Publix continues to be on the fence” of self-checkout.

Sources within both Kroger and Albertsons LLC cited the same self-checkout concern, which is that many customers perceive it to be less customer-service-oriented than staffed checkout lanes. Also, an increasing number of products require staff intervention, and that—coupled with consumers making errors in using the systems—can slow the self-checkout lines dramatically.

Albertsons LLC has stores in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, New Mexico, Texas and Utah, and its headquarters is in Boise, Idaho. Its Utah stores are called SuperSaver. To be clear, Albertsons split into two chains five years ago and the other chain—also known as Albertsons but without the LLC—is now owned by Supervalu. Supervalu’s Albertsons have not said they are abandoning self-checkout.

Greg Buzek, president of the IHL Group and arguably the most veteran analyst of self-checkout systems, said some of the decisions about self-checkout are strongly driven by customer demographics, which is why self-checkout will work so well for certain stores and more poorly in others. “It’s not as popular among those shoppers who are 65 or older. Some of those people remember when the store owner used to know their name,” Buzek said.

It’s also difficult to evaluate how well self-checkout is doing, given that it can’t be done solely by looking at how many transactions self-checkout lanes are processing. Some of those customers might be using it but are very unhappy doing so and actively plotting to start shopping at a direct rival.

In the perception versus reality realm, a problem with self-checkout has been the perception—reinforced often by local media and even some political leaders—that the systems contribute to unemployment. Most grocery retailers deny such suggestions, arguing that it’s difficult enough to hire and retain associates and that those associates are merely being deployed to more service-oriented parts of the business, such as in Deli, offering free samples or even carrying customers’ bags to their cars. But the perception—even when unfounded—has caused resistance from areas with substantial union member populations, Buzek said.


advertisement

Comments are closed.

Newsletters

StorefrontBacktalk delivers the latest retail technology news & analysis. Join more than 60,000 retail IT leaders who subscribe to our free weekly email. Sign up today!
advertisement

Most Recent Comments

Why Did Gonzales Hackers Like European Cards So Much Better?

I am still unclear about the core point here-- why higher value of European cards. Supply and demand, yes, makes sense. But the fact that the cards were chip and pin (EMV) should make them less valuable because that demonstrably reduces the ability to use them fraudulently. Did the author mean that the chip and pin cards could be used in a country where EMV is not implemented--the US--and this mis-match make it easier to us them since the issuing banks may not have as robust anti-fraud controls as non-EMV banks because they assumed EMV would do the fraud prevention for them Read more...
Two possible reasons that I can think of and have seen in the past - 1) Cards issued by European banks when used online cross border don't usually support AVS checks. So, when a European card is used with a billing address that's in the US, an ecom merchant wouldn't necessarily know that the shipping zip code doesn't match the billing code. 2) Also, in offline chip countries the card determines whether or not a transaction is approved, not the issuer. In my experience, European issuers haven't developed the same checks on authorization requests as US issuers. So, these cards might be more valuable because they are more likely to get approved. Read more...
A smart card slot in terminals doesn't mean there is a reader or that the reader is activated. Then, activated reader or not, the U.S. processors don't have apps certified or ready to load into those terminals to accept and process smart card transactions just yet. Don't get your card(t) before the terminal (horse). Read more...
The marketplace does speak. More fraud capacity translates to higher value for the stolen data. Because nearly 100% of all US transactions are authorized online in real time, we have less fraud regardless of whether the card is Magstripe only or chip and PIn. Hence, $10 prices for US cards vs $25 for the European counterparts. Read more...
@David True. The European cards have both an EMV chip AND a mag stripe. Europeans may generally use the chip for their transactions, but the insecure stripe remains vulnerable to skimming, whether it be from a false front on an ATM or a dishonest waiter with a handheld skimmer. If their stripe is skimmed, the track data can still be cloned and used fraudulently in the United States. If European banks only detect fraud from 9-5 GMT, that might explain why American criminals prefer them over American bank issued cards, who have fraud detection in place 24x7. Read more...

StorefrontBacktalk
Our apologies. Due to legal and security copyright issues, we can't facilitate the printing of Premium Content. If you absolutely need a hard copy, please contact customer service.