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USA: Trader Joe's announces that it has no intention of introducing self-checkouts

Trader Joe`s (owned by the German Discounter Aldi Nord Group) announced it has NO plans to install self-checkout boxes in its stores according to its CEO Bryan Palbaum and President Jon Basalone.


"According to Palbaum and Basalone, not having self-checkout terminals benefits workers, as it preserves their jobs: "We believe in people and we don't want to get rid of our team members for efficiency or whatever..."

CEO Palbaum added that they are "not user-friendly" and that they "don't want to burden their customers with more tasks, because self-pay means more work." And President Basalone added that, recently, he had problems using a self-checkout machine in a competing supermarket and had to ask an employee for help...".

In an opinion, "a compelling reason behind these decisions is that, until now, Trader Joe's has taken great care of the shopping experience in its stores, with customer service protocols and avoiding queues at the checkout," he says.

On the other hand, they have remained firm in not entering online sales: their website allows you to make shopping lists... but not to make transactions. What reason do they give? "The additional costs associated with selling online don't make it profitable."

Likewise, the company wants to "avoid the unionization of its centers, very widespread in its competitors," says Dimas Gimeno.


In this scenario, Trader Joe's executives prefer to focus their investments on three aspects that they consider key, as Gimeno indicates:

1. Product innovation, "for which they are well known in the USA"

2. Reinforce the emotional connection with your customers.

3. And expansion, opening new stores.

The executive president of WOW, who in his speeches in recent years has emphasized the importance of what he has called 'retail reset', throws these questions to his followers: "Do you think a company like Trader Joe's can stay out of these technological advances? What is your experience with self-checkout terminals? Are you in favor of its use?"

The reactions have not been long in coming. We collect one of them, the one offered by David Rodríguez Francisco, CEO at the consulting firm ON Soluciones: "The news produces mixed thoughts for me. On the one hand (in addition to respect for the employee) I find it amazing that their eagerness to provide better customer service dispenses with self-payment terminals that lower costs, which in a sector with tight margins such as food, is gold. He walked for them. On the other hand, by doing that it is true that they are protecting the experience of many customers but are harming that of others. Many customers value the presence of self-payment terminals (it dominates their use and allows them to save time and improve their shopping experience). What about them? And, above all, if self-payment is dispensed with "because it is not easy to use", why not invest in improving the user experience? Not all technologies are ready to be consumed massively immediately: it is necessary to iterate them, adjust them, see how consumers use them, and polish them," he concludes.


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