Sir: The comments about Tesco’s new hi-tech checkouts worry me a bit (‘Tesco promises more relaxed experience with new hi-tech tills,’ 17 May, p8)
Auto checkouts pose a threat to a significant percentage of customers (30% at least), for whom the checkout procedure at an auto-till can be a demoralising experience and lead to loss of the customer, who won’t continue to shop or return to the site of their embarrassment. Particular distress can be caused when staffing is low and customers are few, with staff advising that staffed checkouts are closed and the customer must self-scan his or her items.
Also likely to face difficulties are people whose literacy skills are very low; people who need the reassurance of human involvement; many older people; people with visual impairment; their predominance is significant enough to impact upon footfall and influence profits. I would suggest that Tesco’s comment on the pressure felt by people in a queue is far outweighed by the pressures induced by auto-tills.
Does an explanation for Tesco’s profits drop, and Aldi’s rise, lie here?
Brian Moran, consultant information architect