Shoppers may find their local Aldi looking a little different very soon as the store continues to roll out changes nationwide.
The German retail giant has extended its self-serve checkout trial, adding the new registers to a further nine NSW stores.
The trial was announced back in June when the first Aldi store in Darlinghurst was fitted with the checkouts.
Shoppers have already started spotting more self-serve checkouts popping up in their local stores.
One excited customer recently posted the new feature added to the Castle Hill store in Sydney’s North West.
“Aldi Castle Hill finally has self-service. Yay!!!! Awesome!” the shopper wrote alongside the image.
Fellow Aldi fans flooded the post with hundreds of comments, with the majority saying they loved the introductions of the technology to more stores.
“For the sake of standing in line for a handful of items, I think these are great! There’s only so many times you can let someone else cut in front,” one shopper said.
“Aldi really do need this. I often have 1 or 2 items and have to wait behind a person with a trolley load,” added another.
“Oh just great!!! I'm going to have to throw my groceries at myself now,” joked a third.
Aldi self-serve trial gets 'overwhelmingly positive' response
Aldi store Operations Director Robert Eichfeld said so far the trial response from customers was “overwhelmingly positive”.
"Shoppers commented that they enjoyed the choice and appreciated the convenience of having a quick and easy option when only shopping for a few items," he said.
"Since self-checkouts entered the Australian grocery sector we’ve been watching with keen interest the convenience they provide customers as well as the value and efficiencies they drive for business."
Not all Aldi customers happy with change
However, not all shoppers agreed, with a minority pointing out the potential problems with the newly installed machines.
“Can’t stand self-service. The machines never work properly and it just takes twice as long if you have a big load by the time you look up the code of every fresh item and the unexpected item,” one shopper commented.
“The bagging area goes off 15 times. Just an excuse to get rid of staff. Kmart has virtually no check-out staff now.”
In a separate post, another Aldi shopper pointed out that the budget supermarket was becoming too much like Coles and Woolworths.
“Just read that Aldi is rolling out self-service checkouts nationally. What next, rewards points and little toys when you spend $xx dollars. I wonder how many staff will lose their jobs?” they wrote on Facebook.
Another shopper agreed saying: “Self serve checkouts are terrible, you do all the work, doing people out of jobs and the shopping isn’t any cheaper. I refuse to use them.”
Will Aldi jobs be lost?
While some shoppers fear Aldi staff jobs will be lost, Mr Eichfeld hinted in a statement that this may not be the case.
“This technology will require store employees to assist, support and monitor customers’ use of self-checkouts and assist with any issues, rather than working on the register,” he said in a statement.
“It will also provide them with more time to focus on creating a quality experience by keeping fresh produce and general stock available and the store clean and well-presented.”
Now that further feedback has been collected on the trial, the rollout will continue to other stores. Aldi will then look at introducing self-serve checkouts nationally.
"We anticipate the trial will appeal to our regulars as well as attract new customers, who are purchasing only a few items at a time – and we’ll also be introducing Aldi baskets in all trial stores to aid these small and quick shops."
Aldi's self-serve backflip
The news of the new checkouts came as a surprise to some after Aldi backflipped on the idea. In 2019, an Aldi spokesperson told Yahoo Finance that they wouldn’t be introducing the self-serve technology.
“We currently have no plans to trial stores with self-service checkouts,” an Aldi spokesperson said at the time.
“Feedback has told us that our shoppers prefer face-to-face interactions at registers and that they are an important part of their in-store experience.
“Our current store format enables us to focus on creating the best possible in-store experience while continuing to deliver high-quality products at permanently low prices.”
But it seems the change of mind has benefitted both the retailer and its customers with the trials being very well received.
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