Customers are becoming more and more familiar with self-service systems. They are used to checking in without assistance at the airport and to using automated teller machines at the bank. Self-service is a trend that is extending to more and more aspects of daily life. The triumphal procession of self-service systems seems to be extending to the supermarkets. New automated self-checkout systems enable shoppers to scan, bag, and pay for their purchases without or with very limited help from store personnel. Although this technology has existed for more than a decade, it is still in the early stages of its diffusion process. Retailers expect to reduce their costs and to gain more flexibility by introducing self-checkout systems. One cashier can now serve multiple customers simultaneously, so that staff time is used efficiently. Displaced labor could be used to improve the service in areas where they really help the customers. But are customers really willing to use the new automated self-checkout systems? The vendors of these systems assert that customers benefit from it too. Shorter checkout queues, a faster checkout process, more privacy, and greater control for the customers are the key arguments being used to convince the retailers to introduce the new self-checkout systems. But past introductions of new products and systems have shown that customer’s acceptance is crucial for their success.
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