Coles and Woolworths set to step up rollout of free in-store shopping
Over 15 years ago, the large Coles and Woolworths supermarkets introduced self-service checkouts.
Now the next big thing in retail – cashless shopping – is here and could be seen across the country sooner rather than later.
Woolworths has led the market with its Scan & Go technology in a handful of stores in downtown Sydney.
It requires customers to use an app to scan and pay for items, which allows them to avoid queuing at a checkout.
Coles is also reviewing the concept but says “there are no plans to phase out belted checkouts which remain a key part of our in-store offering.”
Experts believe tech guinea pigs will continue to be the downtown shoppers looking for speed and convenience.
Although the deployment remains focused on a small area of Sydney, this would not be the case for long.
“I think in the next two or three years we’ll see a lot of smaller supermarkets with this option,” said Gary Mortimer, QUT’s retail expert.
“Retailers don’t like having to watch customers line up and customers don’t like standing in line.
“The criticism of a self-service or self-service register is often:” I have to queue and unpack all those groceries I just put in my bag, scan them individually and repack them in my own. bag “.
“This type of technology speeds up the whole process.
“I can just put the items in a bag, scan as I go, and just go.”
“It certainly attracts this rushed and busy consumer.”
For the supermarket giants, the driving force behind the technology implementation is obvious.
“The appeal is pretty obvious. You don’t need to spend money on salaries for cashier staff,” said Simon Bell, professor of marketing at the University of Melbourne.
“There is a huge saving for Coles and Woolies.”
There will be some resistance, as was the case with self-checkout in the 2000s, as older, less tech-savvy customers are left behind, according to Bell.
“If you take something away from the customer, there is a negative first wave,” he said.
“You get a bit of resentment in those segments of the market.
“But most people don’t resist or want too much.”
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Coles says about half of its sales still occur in belted cases.
Mortimer believes old technologies will remain, regardless of technological advancements.
“I think this (without payment) will be an option, but it won’t be the only one,” he said.
“I still think we’ll have staffed registers and self-service registers and that will be a third option.
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“Not everyone will be open to using this kind of technology.
“There will be some consumers who are really concerned about the loss of jobs.
“There are people who enjoy this interaction at the end of their shopping experience.
“There is always a human element involved.”