Business branches remove self-checked payments: “Isn’t an honest customer happy with it?”

Business branches remove self-checked payments: "Isn't an honest customer happy with it?"

In recent weeks, a number of branches in The Hague, Lelystad, Amsterdam, Bremerend and Hoofddorp, among others, have stopped using self-check.

An Action on the Zeedijk in Hilversum customer told RTL Nieuws that the self-scanning kiosks suddenly no longer existed. “I asked an employee why that was, and got an answer that it was decided because there was a lot of theft. So I had to get back in line.”

Self-checkouts have grown in popularity in recent years. In 2019, Action began testing self-checks in a limited number of stores. A year later, it was announced that the measure would roll out cash registers more widely.

“Find the best way”

“It is true that stores have stopped self-checking,” an Action spokesperson confirmed to RTL Nieuws. But the procedure does not say exactly how many there are. “We are constantly looking at how to improve the customer experience, self-checking is relatively new, especially for Action. We and our customers have yet to learn from this and by testing it we learn how best.”

So it is possible for self-scans to go away, but also come back. We look the best for each store. “Different methods are being tested with different technological possibilities.”

The emergence of self-checking leads to more stolen products. But an Action spokesperson says “not much” is the reason for removing the cash registers.

It is relatively easy to steal by self-examination. Whether a customer accidentally fails to pay for something, or they intentionally scan just one product and leave with a full shopping cart: it happens. Customers are checked at random.

Increased theft

According to recent police figures, the number of shoplifting will increase by 30 percent in 2022. There is no specific data on thefts at self-checkouts, but according to retail experts, the increase in shoplifting has something to do with it.

It makes sense that retail chains would prefer not to dwell on this, says retail expert Cor Molenaar. “People who don’t have much to spend often come to the event; they earn average or less. If people then hear that it is easy to steal, that attracts thieves.”

But theft is not the only reason for self-propelled removal. “It’s a plus,” says Molinar. “Not only should such a device add value to the customer, but also to the company. Self-checking costs money and you need staff to carry out the checks. If it turns out that it is not cost-cutting in your company, then it makes sense to stop.”


Retail expert Marcel van Aalst says stores are still experiencing a downturn since the arrival of the check-out self-check. “The customer asks for convenience and wants to shop quickly. You also want to provide service, and this creates a split. In addition, some customers do it unconsciously. Then they manipulate with such a laser, so that everything is not properly checked.”

More procedures might be a solution, but that also makes it more expensive for the store. “If you do more random checks, give an expensive product chip, or install more cameras, he will take care of that in the end to increase the cost. And all of that must be recovered.”

Discontinuing self-checking seems a logical response if the number of thefts increases, says retail expert Eelco Hos. “But even without self-examination, people steal. It’s like throwing in the towel.”

Removing the self-examination has a number of drawbacks, says Hoss. More cashiers are needed, and placing old cash registers takes up more retail space, which in turn means you can accommodate fewer shelves.

Back in line

And not unimportant: customers love being able to do a self-scanning. “You have to wait longer again. And you take away something from the customer that he’s always had. So from the customer’s perspective, I don’t understand this,” says the expert. “But I don’t know the situation in the stores, I don’t know the numbers. But I can imagine an honest customer is unhappy with this.”

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