Why Did Walmart Remove Self-Checkout Lanes? (An Economical Move?)

Shopping trips frequently take longer than anticipated. Not only might it be challenging to locate the things you require on the shelves, especially at big-box stores that are increasing their online presence while removing their physical presence, but it can also take an eternity to pay and get back to your day.

When the store is bustling, checkout queues can stretch for five, six, or even ten customers. As a result, numerous stores have installed self-checkout lanes. Not only are they beneficial for those who simply need a few products, but they also help businesses save money by reducing the workforce.

However, it was rumored that Walmart has announced that it will no longer attempt to increase the number of self-checkout lanes in its chain of stores. Why did Walmart remove self-checkout lanes? Let’s find out why.

Why Did Walmart Remove Self-Checkout Lanes in 2023?

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Walmart did not eliminate self-checkout lanes and, in fact, is expanding the number of self-checkout lanes available in its shops. However, customers have mixed feelings about self-checkout lanes. They do not want to do any extra work when shopping.

Self-checkout and the new “Scan and Go” technology does this. Instead of hiring more cashiers, Walmart is shifting the burden of work to customers in order to save money.

“It took Walmart almost a year to figure out what the rest of us already know: You can’t convince customers to do the job of a cashier just because you don’t want to pay for the work, especially when eliminating cashiers doesn’t result in more convenient shopping,” said Randy Parraz, MCAW (Making Change at Walmart) director.

Walmart will hire more cashiers as a result of the disappointing results. They aim to improve client happiness, and the human connection should be able to assist them.

For a long time, businesses have shifted more responsibility to the client – self-checkout lines, self-service gas, and internet buying. All of this unseen labor adds up and depletes your valuable personal time.

What Are Self-Checkout Lanes?

Self-checkouts (SCOs), also known as assisted checkouts or self-service checkouts, are machines that allow customers to complete their transactions without having to go through a standard staffed checkout.

Customers scan item barcodes before paying for their entire purchase using SCOs, eliminating the need for one-on-one employee assistance. Self-checkouts are most commonly found in supermarkets. However, they can also be found in department and convenience stores.

At least one staff member oversees most self-checkout sections, assisting customers with transactions, adjusting prices, and offering other services.

Customers are usually expected to do the following while using self-checkout systems:

  • Scan product barcodes if they are present
  • Weigh things without barcodes (such as produce) and select the variety on a touchscreen display
  • Put all of the scanned things in a baggage area. The weight in the bagging area is compared to the previously stored data to confirm that the correct item is bagged, and the consumer is only allowed to advance if the observed and expected weights match.

At least one supervisory employee will typically assist clients as needed, authorize the sale of age-restricted products including pharmaceuticals, alcohol, knives, and tobacco, remove or de-sensitize electronic article monitoring devices, and provide further loss prevention and customer assistance.

A semi-random selection of clients is usually chosen for a manual scan by a supervisory staff member to deter shoplifters. Algorithms pick customers for further scanning based on their previous shopping behavior, time spent in-store or at checkout, and specific high-risk products purchased.

What Are Walmart’s Plans for Self-Checkout Lanes?

why did Walmart remove self-checkout lanes

Walmart is piloting a few retail locations with solely self-checkout lanes to expand the concept to more areas in the future. In terms of design, the test store features 34 self-checkout registers in an open floor plan concept.

Customers can quickly tell whether a cash register is open because there are no obstructions in their way.

Why Is Walmart Expanding Its Self-Checkout Options?

There are several reasons why Walmart has been implementing more self-checkout lanes and fewer regular checkout lanes.

Customers Will Have An Easier Time Finding A Free Lane

The inability to find a free checkout line is one of Walmart’s most common complaints. Walmart’s self-checkout lanes make finding a free checkout lane easier, so consumers don’t have to wait as long. Furthermore, the open floor architecture of Walmart’s self-checkout store allows for improved sight.

Helps You Save Time

With more self-checkout lanes, all registers are open at all times as long as no one else is ringing up their purchases. As a result, compared to the old checkout approach, more consumers can check out and leave the store faster.

According to Walmart’s research, more self-checkout lanes make adjusting to shifting traffic patterns much more straightforward than previous techniques.

It Is Cost-Effective

Walmart is also launching more self-checkout lanes since it saves the corporation money in training hours. According to Walmart, training a cashier to operate a register takes 40 hours. With more self-checkout lanes, employee training takes less than a day, allowing associates to begin assisting customers sooner.

Many individuals also believe that more self-checkout lanes equal fewer jobs. On the other hand, Walmart introduced a new role called a Host, responsible for assisting customers at self-checkout lanes with bagging their items and resolving any issues.

What Are The Side Effects Of Self-Checkout?

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Self-checkout was first introduced to ecstatic customers, and it continues to meet their shopping demands while transforming an ordinary supermarket day into the best grocery shopping experience.

Grocery stores strive to provide their customers with what they want and need, but they cross a line when they start taking advantage of such conveniences as shoplifting at self-checkout stands.

According to some security experts, self-checkout stands are now five times more likely to be targeted for theft.

These thefts are referred to as “external shrinkage” by loss prevention, yet they are still considered shoplifting. Moreover, it was stated that a typical American household had to spend an extra $435 last year due to a rise in theft.

Now, some supermarket retailers such as Albertsons are eliminating self-checkouts to combat theft in their stores, while others are opting for a different approach. Other big supermarkets began eliminating or reducing self-checkout lanes in 2015, and some locations continue to do so today to minimize theft.

What Are The Benefits Of Self-Checkout?

Self-checkouts are a fantastic alternative to paying at a traditional checkout lane. What are the advantages of using a self-checkout machine? Customers, for starters, adore them. According to 2019 data, almost 47% of clients utilize self-checkout regularly.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, self-checkout kiosks were handy. When they couldn’t have as many team members on duty and had to reduce human-to-human contact, more physical retail businesses went to self-checkout kiosks.

The benefits to merchants are significant, as they minimize labor expenses by reducing the number of checkout clerks. They also free up storage space, allowing for more product display.

Self-checkouts are convenient and quick, but some customers have taken advantage of the opportunity to steal groceries. To maintain these advantages, it’s critical to counteract the methods used by criminals to carry goods.

Can You Steal From Walmart Self-Checkout?

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Yes, you can steal from the self-checkout lane at Walmart, But you can undoubtedly be caught. If you get caught, Walmart usually charges you right away.

Retailers, according to SebastianDaily.com, have a somewhat long grace time to determine whether or not to press charges. On the other hand, Walmart has been known to do so directly at the time of arrest, guaranteeing that the incidence is permanently recorded.

Potential employers and landlords will be able to see on your permanent record that you were caught stealing. If you seek a mortgage, banks will know this information when doing background checks to determine if you’re a suitable applicant.

Walmart can drop what are known as “petty theft” charges, but after learning the hard way, they may have chosen the opposite path.

Do Walmart Self-Checkout Lanes Have Facial Recognition?

Walmart does not utilize facial recognition as part of its security procedures because it is a contentious technology. ACE Hardware, Lowe’s, and H-E-B are among the retailers named as employing it. However, the latter two have issued statements denying it.

Do Self-Checkout Lanes Kill Jobs?

Employees and research both point to a negative answer. According to an article mvorganizing.org  published in May 2021, the number of cashiers in the US increased dramatically over the last decade.

Self-checkouts do not result in decreased employee numbers, nor do they provide a speedier checkout,  according to another article from theconversation.com in 2017, which claims that self-checkouts and assisted checkouts get people through roughly the same speed.


Walmart has been increasing the number of self-checkout lanes in its shops nationwide. Similarly, many grocery stores now include self-checkout stations to assist customers in saving time and improving their shopping experiences.

Customers clearly profit from self-checkout stations, but perhaps not in the ways that the company initially envisioned.

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