Home Uncategorized The battle of the supermarket self-scanners: From Marks & Spencer’s unmanned checkouts...

The battle of the supermarket self-scanners: From Marks & Spencer’s unmanned checkouts to militant Aldi and Waitrose carrier bag hell – MailOnline reveals the best store for a quick getaway (which took just 43 seconds)…which do YOU think won?

30
0


Self-scanning checkouts in supermarkets have become retail’s hot potato this week, with customers split over their potential benefits.

Marks & Spencer was slated on Tuesday as their devices were branded ‘the worst ever experienced’. 

The gadgets have become popular because in theory putting groceries through them by hand could save time for the shopper keen to make a quick exit.

But the soulless machines lack a personal touch, no matter which friendly voice they may have had programmed.

And if an item fails to scan the whole procedure could last even longer than the traditional way – and that’s before any efforts to purchase a reusable bag.

With modern life making any free time more valuable than ever it means it has never been more important to optimise the shopping experience.

To help readers with their decision on where to self-scan MailOnline took to the streets to find out which ones deserve to be considered first.

Armed with just a purse, a stop watch and a shopping list of just five items – milk, bread, eggs, apples and biscuits – reporter Freya Barnes investigated.

Marks & Spencer – cost of shop £7

The speed test was carried out on seven of the UK's well-known stores using the same items

The speed test was carried out on seven of the UK’s well-known stores using the same items

Marks & Spencer had been criticised over its self-checkout tills but was not the slowest one

Marks & Spencer had been criticised over its self-checkout tills but was not the slowest one

Customer self service checkout till and digital bar code scanner previously used at M & S

Customer self service checkout till and digital bar code scanner previously used at M & S

Poll

Which supermarket do you think has the fastest self-scanners?

  • Tesco 108 votes
  • Sainsbury’s 64 votes
  • Lidl 46 votes
  • Aldi 102 votes
  • Marks & Spencer 30 votes
  • Waitrose 44 votes
  • Co-op 20 votes
  • Morrisons 19 votes
  • Asda 34 votes

Upon approaching the self-checkouts at M&S a familiar sense of dread washed over me, ‘here we go again’, I thought.

Shoppers have complained about the scanners not working properly, so I was not looking forward to the procedure.

Every time I scanned an item the machine decided it needed a moment to think about it.

I had to stand there like a prize plum, waving a bottle of milk around in all sorts of directions pleading with that little red light to acknowledge it.

When my abstract dance performance was over, it was time to pay.

This is the part I usually hate because why do I have to press so many buttons just to tap my card?

M&S, I love you but you ask too many questions.

But in total it took me one minute and eleven seconds to process and pay for my little shopping haul.

Not as bad as I thought but also not the best of the day.

Self-scanning checkout time: 1 minute, 11 seconds 

Sainsbury’s – cost of shop £6.70 (no eggs)

Sainsbury's had run out of one of the items needed but the self-scanner performed very well

Sainsbury’s had run out of one of the items needed but the self-scanner performed very well

Sainsbury's self scan was nearly the quickest but the scales on the machine cost it seconds

Sainsbury’s self scan was nearly the quickest but the scales on the machine cost it seconds

Shoppers use self checkout counters in a Sainsbury's supermarket on May last year in Bath

Shoppers use self checkout counters in a Sainsbury’s supermarket on May last year in Bath

Next up was Sainsburys who, to my horror and disdain, didn’t have any eggs.

I had to make sure I was hearing the shop assistant correctly when he told me they had ran out. How can a supermarket run out of eggs?

The self-service checkout in Sainsburys however was smooth and speedy at a cool 43 seconds.

This was despite the carrier bags being inconveniently placed and the assistant – who was being pulled from pillar to post.

They had to tap a few buttons on my screen to fix an issue with an item not being acknowledged by the scales but it was still quick.

Self-scanning checkout time: 46 seconds 

Waitrose – cost of shop £9.50

Bag nightmare experienced by Freya meant the self-scanning system was thrown into chaos

Bag nightmare experienced by Freya meant the self-scanning system was thrown into chaos

Waitrose's self scanning equipment is higher up than some others and looks quite different

Waitrose’s self scanning equipment is higher up than some others and looks quite different

I am still miffed by my experience in Waitrose who didn’t have any plastic carrier bags that usually cost 30p.

I was instead invited to purchase one of their heavier duty plastic bags for £1 – an absolute joke, I felt seriously ripped off.

But karma works in mysterious ways and me conversing with the assistant about the lack of bags and what I should do hit their total checkout time.

It meant by the time my self-scan had finished I was up to a whopping one minute and 49 seconds.

Self-scanning checkout time: 1 minute, 49 seconds

Co-op – cost of shop £9.15

The Co-op took some time longer than other shops due to a problem scanning the milk

The Co-op took some time longer than other shops due to a problem scanning the milk

I didn’t really know what to expect in Co-op as I am not a regular in their stores.

I certainly wont be becoming one as the whole experience gave me war flashbacks to my time battling with the scanner in M&S.

In total it took one minute and 44 seconds because the milk wouldn’t scan so I had to humiliate myself again with my milk bottle dance.

Not only that but I had to call the lady over – who looked really stressed – to press some buttons as the weight of my eggs wasn’t right.

The self-scan machine was angry about it – you and me both, pal.

Self-scanning checkout time: 1 minute, 44 seconds

Tesco – cost of shop £8.75

Tesco and its self-service checkouts were extremely quick and provided no problems at all

Tesco and its self-service checkouts were extremely quick and provided no problems at all

The self-service tills in Tesco have evolved over the years to the high-speed version now used

The self-service tills in Tesco have evolved over the years to the high-speed version now used

As I approached the doors of Tesco I could feel myself coming out of fight or flight mode.

It doesn’t matter where I am in the country, if go into a Tesco I feel at home.

I often shop at a big Tesco as there is one locally to me so I knew it wouldn’t let me down.

The whole experience from start to end was seamless and easy at a swift 43 seconds.

Everything scanned the first time, I got a carrier bag easily and I didn’t have to ask for help – Tesco, you have done me proud.

Self-scanning checkout time: 43 seconds 

Aldi – cost of shop £6.90

Aldi's self-service checkouts were run like a military operation but lost the war on slow times

Aldi’s self-service checkouts were run like a military operation but lost the war on slow times

A shopper seen at a self service checkout in an Aldi supermarket, which is known as one of the cheapest

A shopper seen at a self service checkout in an Aldi supermarket, which is known as one of the cheapest

I travelled via cloud 9 to my next stop, Aldi where I immediately came crashing back down to earth.

The first thing I heard was the loud abrupt voices of the men manning the self-checkouts, who were running them like a military operation.

I was genuinely a bit scared as I waited for one to shout at me when a machine freed up – it’s not that serious, please calm down sir.

Maybe it was partly the fear that had me in a fluster and unable to get my carrier bag to scan.

Eventually Aldi’s answer to the Chief of General Staff had to come over and sort it out for me, taking the total time up to a devastating four minutes and 29 seconds.

Self-scanning checkout time: 1 minute, 53 seconds 

Lidl – cost of shop £6.90

Lidl offered a smooth operation and caused no bother with staff on hand to keep things fast

Lidl offered a smooth operation and caused no bother with staff on hand to keep things fast 

Shaken and quite frankly traumatised by my last experience I made my way to what feels like Aldi’s fraternal twin and our final stop – Lidl.

There was quite a long que at the self checkouts despite there being a huge number of machines but as I looked around I noticed that half of them were out of service and the working ones were split with some only taking cash and the rest only taking card.

The people running the show were much more my cup of tea, very calm and polite even under the high levels of pressure trying to help so many customers at once.

One of them conveniently gave me a bag before I even started scanning, everything went through easily and there wasn’t too many buttons to press .

Self-scanning checkout time: 1 minute

The Winner: Tesco – 43 seconds

Tesco was the fastest, just pipping Sainsbury's to the top spot, with Lidl a plucky third

Tesco was the fastest, just pipping Sainsbury’s to the top spot, with Lidl a plucky third

Overall, Tesco was the fastest, most streamlined and most pleasant experience – even the little boy who got in my way didn’t tarnish it.

Despite their best efforts at replicating boot camp conditions to get customers in and out quickly Aldi came out at the bottom, which made all that shouting and frantic bag scanning seem pointless.

One thing I learnt from my self-service checkout grand tour is that the shops where the staff manage to stay calm and are very on the ball with what the customers need are the ones where it is faster and easier.

At the stores that took the longest the staff manning the tills often seem more stressed than those sat down running the regular checkouts.

They constantly have customers demanding help as the machines are so unreliable, which begs the question – why do we even bother getting customers and machines to do this?



Source link

Previous article‘Chantal In Fairyland’ Off To Enchanted Start At German Box Office
Next articleThe 11 Best Comedy Movies Of 2024 So Far

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here