We may not realize it, but retailers are conditioning us to be our own cashiers.
After two decades of freeze-ups and unfamiliar items in the bagging area, self-checkout may be in the midst of an expansion. RBR, a research firm focused on banking and retail automation, says that self-checkout terminals recently had a “breakout year,” with global sales increasing by 67 percent in 2016; a surge in U.S. big-box stores purchases was a driving factor. NCR Corporation, the leading manufacturer of self-checkout machines, says it’s had record growth over the past two years.
The way retailers and industry watchers tell it, self-checkout is growing because customers want it to grow. Tech-savvy millennials would rather deal with a machine than make small talk, and even old-school shoppers might like to avoid a long cashier line if they’ve only got a couple items.