Credit: Roy/Geograph

Morrisons taps into everyone's hatred of self-checkouts

The ailing supermarket is opening new manned express tills.

by Jack Torrance
Last Updated: 29 Jun 2015

Pretty much everybody despises self-checkouts. Some refuse to use them in a bid to protect the jobs of shop workers but those who do invariably come up against the familiar jarring declaration that there’s an ‘unidentified item in the bagging area.’

It’s perhaps with this is mind that Morrisons has decided to bring back ‘express checkouts’ for customers who are buying 10 items or less. The changes don’t mean there will any more tills open overall or a closure of any of the dreaded self-checkouts, but ‘customers with a small shop who want personal service will not have to queue behind those with a trolley full of groceries and [will] have an alternative to self-scanning.’

Like many of its peers Morrisons has been struggling amid falling food prices and competition from the likes of Aldi and Lidl (which don't have self-checkouts), so it will be hoping the announcement will entice technophobic shoppers back through its doors. The supermarket also ditched another newfangled piece of tech recently, its 'Intelligent Queue Management System,' which used lasers to count the number of shoppers in a store to determine how many tills should be open.  

‘We’re listening hard to our customers and responding quickly wherever possible,’ said Morrisons CEO David Potts. ‘If customers from time to time do smaller shops, they want to get in and out of our stores quickly.’

After the supermarket’s like-for-like sales slumped 5.9% last year, Potts will need to do a lot more than tinker with its checkout configuration to claw back Morrisons’ market share. Nonetheless, anybody who's ever stood around for five minutes waiting for a shop assistant to rescue them from a malfunctioning self-checkout will be pretty pleased.

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