Woolworths reveals new ploy to solve self-serve checkout gripe

A new Woolworths store has been unveiled and along with it, a solution to trolleys crowding self-serve checkouts.

Victoria was treated to the first trolley self-serve at the Miller’s Junction Woolworths, which has just opened up in Altona North, in Melbourne’s southwest on Wednesday.

Community page for people in Melbourne’s west - Mamma Knows West, shared the photo of the new checkout to Facebook.

The new trolley self-serve has a conveyer belt which allows for customers to place their items on belt, while they scan products at the other end.

Picture of the new self-serve checkout for trolley's at the Millers Junction Woolworths store.
A new self-serve checkout designed for people to take their trolley's through has been unveiled at a new Woolworths store in Melbourne. Source: Facebook - Mumma Knows West.

While many people agreed the supermarket looked great, some people expressed their dismay at the new self-serve.

A Woolworths spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia the supermarket was looking forward to hearing feedback from local customers about the new trial checkout. Customer feedback will determine if the new self-serve checkout is introduced into other stores.

“It's about providing another convenient option for customers and is designed to complement our manned checkouts and traditional self-serve checkouts,” the Woolworths spokesperson said.

“We want to give our customers choice, so they can pick the checkout option that works best for the shop they’re doing on any given day.”

The spokesperson said the Millers Junction Woolworths will employ more than 100 team members, “many of whom will work to serve our customers at the front of the store”.

The problem with self-serve checkouts

Some people like self-serve, some people prefer actually a conversation while they pack their groceries.

Earlier this year, one Woolworths customer was inspired to write a blog post about trolley etiquette.

The blogger’s fourth rule on how to conduct yourself in a shopping centre with a trolley is to not take your trolley through the self-serve checkout.

“Frankly, the self checkout area is just too squashy if everyone brought their trolley in there,” the person wrote on the page.

Regardless of whether this customer has more or less than 12 items, they insist on going to a service lane.

Picture of the self-serve check outs at a Woolworths
Woolworths have unveiled their new version of the self-serve checkout at the brand new Woolies at Millers Junction Village, in Altona North. Source: Getty Images.

While a few people in the comments agreed with the four rules, many disagree with the no self-serve rule.

“I much prefer to pack my own groceries and quite often the queues at the regular checkouts can be way too long,” one person said.

“Supermarket looks great – but who wants a trolley self serve!!! What happened to good old customer service. I hate self-serve!”

Others said they prefer to use self-serve because it is generally quicker, while others said they don’t have the option as their local shopping centre has few service checkouts now.

“Given self-service has reduced staff on the shop floor. I have no other option just like everyone else to go through self service with a trolley,” another person commented.

“Unfortunately it’s just a sign of the times.”

The idea of self-serve checkouts replacing actual jobs has been a concern with many people, however Woolworths said the new trolley self-serve will only give people more options and when they shop.

“Stop relying on the self-serve checkouts, hire some staff,” an irritated shopper wrote on Facebook when sharing a photo of people lining up at the self-serve checkout at a Coles in Western Australia.

It has been suggested supermarkets who utilise self-serve checkouts, alienate elderly customers, because they prefer the interaction.

“It’s interesting because the older people are the more loyal of the supermarket customers, and they are, in a large part, loyal because of the personal interaction that they have with the ‘checkout chick’,” consumer behavioural analyst and managing director at Marketing Focus, Barry Urquhart, told Yahoo News Australia in October.

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