Kmart trials change at store after customers slam 'dumb' checkout feature

'Kmart has finally listened' said one excited shopper.

Shoppers at one Aussie Kmart store are being treated to a "test and learn" trial that could lead to the end of a widespread practice that has long riled customers.

In the trial, checkouts will be relocated from the centre of the store to the exit as part of a raft of experimental changes at the branch, which is currently being renovated.

The news comes after shoppers expressed frustration over the current layout, which requires customers to pay at checkouts in the middle of the store then be subjected to receipt and bag checks when leaving.

Kmart storefront; Hand using self-serve checkout
The location of Kmart's checkouts is a contentious issue for Aussie shoppers. Source: Getty

"Why put the checkout area in the middle of the store if you're going to treat EVERY SHOPPER like a shoplifter on the way out?" one annoyed shopper wrote in a Facebook post earlier this year. His post prompted a pile-on, with one fellow customer stating that having checkouts in the middle of Kmart stores was the "dumbest idea they've ever had".

While some Kmarts have staffed and self-serve checkouts at the front of the store, most outlets now have them located in the centre, a move that has been rolled out since 2015 to streamline queues and remove congestion from exits, according to the retailer.

A blue ring attached to the ceiling inside a Kmart store indicating where to pay.
Many Kmart stores have a centralised checkout system like the one pictured. Source: Stuff

Layout change part of store trial

But in a trial at Eastlands Shopping Centre in Melbourne, which is still operating while undergoing renovations, this will all change with checkouts moved to near the exit.

"Kmart has finally listened and are putting their checkouts back at the front of the store!" one customer wrote on Facebook this week.

Confirming the move, a Kmart spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia: "We have lots of things we do to try to improve customer experience, such as new technology. We test and learn from things."

The spokesperson stressed the layout change was only a trial being held at the Eastlands Kmart store and at this stage there are no plans to roll out the change across the country.

Kmart 'welcomes customer feedback'

In a statement, Kmart told Yahoo News Australia, "At Kmart Eastland, we are looking to try out a range of new store elements and ideas over the next year or so.

"As a business, we are always looking for ways to make our customer experience better, so trying out new things is just part of what we do.

"As always, we have a number of trials taking place involving lots of new ideas so we can see what our customers think. As these are rolled out, we look forward to hearing our customer feedback so we can continue to adapt and improve."

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