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Walmart Retools Self-Checkout Strategy in 2 States

Retailer removes option as it aims to improve the shopping experience for customers
Emily Crowe, Progressive Grocer
Walmart Checkout Zones
Walmart's self-checkout strategy is evolving, with certain stores removing the option all together.

In line with recent trends among grocery retailers, Walmart is rethinking its self-checkout strategy. One of the company’s locations in St. Louis, Mo., and another in Cleveland, Ohio, will see their self-checkout kiosks removed in favor of adding more traditional checkout options, according to reports.

"We believe the change will improve the in-store shopping experience and give our associates the chance to provide more personalized and efficient service," a Walmart spokesperson told Business Insider. 

Walmart removed self-checkout kiosks from three of its locations in New Mexico in October, citing a desire to provide its customers with the best shopping experience possible. Meanwhile, the company’s customers have recently noticed that at certain times of the day, self-checkout lanes are only open for Walmart+ subscribers or Spark delivery drivers, to ensure faster access and deliveries. 

In a phone call with TODAY.com, Kelsey Bohl, senior manager of corporate communications at Walmart, explained that the decision of whether to close lanes, or to limit the hours that they're available, is at the discretion of individual store managers who are responsible for deciding what works best for their employees and customers.

"Store managers have the autonomy to make decisions about what is best for their specific store in their area, for their customers. It’s a very localized decision," Bohl explained, saying that depending on customer traffic and associate staffing, managers make adjustments accordingly.

Meanwhile, several other food retailers have begun retooling self-checkout amid a time of unprecedented shrink caused by theft, among other issues. Last month, Target rolled out Express Self-Checkout at most of its nearly 2,000 stores nationwide. These lanes are limited to 10 items or fewer.

Last fall, the retailer piloted the concept of Express Self-Checkout with a limit of 10 items or fewer at about 200 stores and found that self-checkout was twice as fast at these stores. Customers who were surveyed by the retailer said that having the option to pick self-checkout for a quick trip or a traditional, staffed lane when their cart is full, improved the overall checkout experience.

Other retailers that have recently made changes to their self-checkout strategy include Dollar General and Schnuck Markets Inc.

The top retailers (including Walmart and Schnucks) and solution providers in grocery will be talking about innovations like this and much more at Progressive Grocer's annual GroceryTech event in Dallas on June 5-7. Click here for more information and to register now. 

Each week, approximately 255 million customers and members visit Walmart’s more than 10,500 stores and numerous e-commerce websites 19 countries. The Bentonville, Ark.-based company employs approximately 2.1 million associates worldwide. Walmart U.S. is No. 1 on Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, while its Sam’s Club division is No. 8. PG also named Walmart one of its Retailers of the Century.

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