More C-Stores Adopt Self-Checkout

At least 61 Wawa locations have the technology, which continues to be a hot topic for retailers.

October 13, 2021

Self-Checkout System In Use

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Wawa has added self-checkouts to 61 stores and continues to install them in other stores, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. Additionally, all new stores will include self-checkout lanes.

Wawa tested self-checkout in a few dozen stores and saw that lines moved quicker.

“It is always our goal to adapt to changing customer demands, market trends, and because of that, we test new programs often to further improve our offering,” Lori Bruce, Wawa spokesperson, told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “We have seen positive customer reaction to the self-checkout test, and we are now in the process of reviewing and refining our processes and plan to continue to add it as an option to more stores.”

Self-checkout was a hot topic at the 2021 NACS Show, and Petrol Plaza spoke with Diebold Nixdorf’s Matt Redwood about the technology. Redwood says self-checkout helps eliminate issues that are plaguing retailers, such as long lines and labor shortages.

“Consumers have moved beyond seeing self-service as an annoying technology that’s pushed upon them. They have now started to demand it because they want choice. Giving your consumer a choice, reducing queues and being more efficient in how you utilize your staff are all factors,” Redwood shared with Petrol Plaza.

A common misconception about self-checkout is that it eliminates jobs. According to Matt Miller, Global Solutions Manager, NCR, self-checkout does not replace jobs but rather creates a shift in labor.

“[Self-checkout] is just displacement of labor. Instead of a one-to-one relationship with a customer, [employees] can have one to two or one to three. In fact, there are more labor benefits with self-checkout. Employees can help stock shelves, work with customers or clean the store,” Miller told the audience of the NACS Show 2021 education session “Meeting Consumers Where They Are—Everywhere.”

Another misconception is that self-checkout allows customers to steal. Some people who noticed the increase in self-checkout at Wawa mentioned on social that the technology could make it easier for customers to take items. But Miller says though it may seem easier to steal at self-checkout, shrink actually decreases with these machines.

“Shrink goes down because of the psychology behind self-checkout. Customers believe they are being watched closer. Also, cash-tendering modules is one less thing for associates to worry about because they do not have access to the cash inside the self-checkout unit. It’s like an ATM, so there is one less failover point from a shrink perspective,” said Miller.