Self-scan checkout controversy: Action removes them due to theft, while other retail chains increase numbers

Customers of bargain chain Action in The Hague, Lelystad, Amsterdam, Purmerend and Hoofddorp, among others, who think they can quickly pay for their groceries will be disappointed. They will now have to stand in line at a normal cash register.

Action has removed the self-scan checkouts in a number of branches. According to employees who spoke to RTL Nieuws, they have to leave because too much was stolen.


But Action seems to be an exception, because other retail chains say they will keep their self-scan checkouts in the store and even increase the number.

“We have self-scan checkouts in more than half of our 1,200 stores and we continue to expand,” said Kruidvat spokesperson José Mes. “We want customers to move through faster, so there are fewer queues.” According to her, it has not yet happened that self-scan checkouts have been removed from Kruidvat stores.

Also at Dekamarkt, which has more than 100 supermarkets in the Netherlands, not a single self-scan checkout has been removed, according to spokesman Rick Kruiskens. Dekamarkt is not going to stop self-scanning either, he says.


Research among customers shows that they like to scan and pay for their groceries themselves, says Anoesjka Aspeslagh, spokesperson for Albert Heijn. The group is by far the largest supermarket chain in the Netherlands.

According to her, customers find the speed of payment a plus. They also like that they can do all their shopping in their own shopping bag in the store, says Aspeslagh.

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Less space

Furthermore, self-scan checkouts take up less space than regular checkouts, she says. As a result, there is more room for products in the store and because fewer cashiers are needed, there is more time for customers, she explains. According to her, customers at Albert Heijn will continue to scan their groceries themselves.

And then there is the advantage for the supermarkets themselves: lower costs, according to Laurens Sloot, professor of entrepreneurship in retail at the University of Groningen. For a supermarket, personnel costs are about 3 percent of turnover, and you can save on that with self-scan checkouts, he explains.

Saves on costs

Suppose that 80 percent of customers pay at the self-checkout, then personnel costs can be reduced considerably, he calculates. Even if you have to hire extra people for checks. “At the bottom of the line it is still slightly cheaper and especially in the large cities it is difficult to find people, also for cash registers,” says Sloot.

It is therefore not surprising that discounter Dirk, Hema and furniture store Ikea, among others, also stick to self-scanning. In some Ikea’s you can now even only pay at a self-checkout.


Although Action employees say that increased theft is the main reason that self-scan checkouts are being removed, according to Action itself this is not the case.

Nevertheless, shoplifting in general is on the rise in the Netherlands. Last year by 30 percent, according to an analysis of police figures by the ANP news agency. According to experts, this has to do with the high inflation. But the self-checkout probably also plays a role. Because that makes it easier to steal something.

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Ikea: no more theft

Interestingly, Ikea had expected the number of thefts to increase due to self-scanning, but that turned out not to be the case. It might help if you also buy large packages, such as bookcases, from the Swedish chain and collect them from customer service, says spokesman Jurriaan Zuiderhoek.

It is also more noticeable if you do not scan large packages but do take them with you from the store, he suggests.

‘Technological rat race’

It is a ‘technological rat race’, says Sloot. The systems for checking whether someone walks out of the store without paying is getting smarter, he says. For example, there are smart cameras that can see how much is in your basket, the retail expert explains.

“At Albert Heijn, we take various additional measures to prevent theft,” says Aspeslagh. She did not respond to additional questions from RTL Nieuws.


Retail expert Sloot thinks that self-checkout checkouts are here to stay. However, regular cash registers will not disappear completely, he thinks. Ultimately, he expects that about 80 percent of purchases will be paid for at a self-checkout in many stores.

After all, the knife cuts both ways, he explains. Customers can choose whether they prefer to pay with an employee or whether they want to do it themselves. And the chains have lower costs.

In this video you can see that store associates scan faster than customers:

2023-06-03 06:16:14
#Stop #selfscan #Ikea #Kruidvat #expanding

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