Self-checkout technology has been rapidly gaining popularity across different retail formats, including supermarkets, fast food chains, and fashion stores. It allows customers to scan and bag items themselves, eliminating the need for a cashier. While some consumers find self-checkouts convenient and time-saving, others hesitate to use them due to concerns about technology errors and loss of social interaction. Two articles that explore the pros and cons of self-checkout technology from different perspectives reflect these differing views.
The first article, “The Pros and Cons of Using Self-Checkouts,” presents a balanced overview of the advantages and disadvantages of self-checkout systems. The article is a trade article published by Andrew Mosteller in 2022. Andrew Mosteller uses a logical tone to outline his view on self-checkout systems. This article does not involve any study, but the author mentions data such as 48% of consumers using self-checkout systems. The purpose of the article is to demonstrate to any business the benefits and drawbacks of implementing self-checkout devices in their business. The article is based on business context and accepts that the audience, businesses, are concerned with improving operational effectiveness. The article is organized into two sections, including the pros and cons of the self-checkout systems in retail stores. The first section involves the pros of self-checkouts, such as shorter line waits times, less space being used, and a reduced number of employees. According to Mosteller, “self-checkouts will address the speed at which customers are self-checking out of a store” (Mosteller). This is possible since customers wait at multiple self-checkouts rather than waiting to be served by one self-checkout station. However, some customers are slow when scanning their items which may be slower, but over time they tend to improve. Regarding the space being used, “it’s easier to fit eight self-checkout stations into a space where you could put one or two employee-assisted checkouts” (Mosteller). This also means that several self-checkout systems can be managed and controlled by only one employee, thereby reducing the number of employees needed.
Andrew Mosteller also acknowledges some of the drawbacks of self-check-out, including customer difficulties, cleanliness concerns, and lack of personal interaction (Mosteller). He suggests that self-checkout machines sometimes face some errors which might irritate some customers. To prevent this, businesses should place at least one employee at the location of the self-checkout machine to help stranded customers. These will help make sure that customers having problems operating the self-checkout machines leave the store with a good shopping experience. Also, since customers are concerned about the cleanliness of the self-checkout stations, businesses should “try implementing self-cleaning by offering disinfecting wipes to customers” (Mosteller). This is a good way to maintain a clean environment in the self-checkout system. Finally, the article talks about the need for more personal interaction aspect between the customers and the business attendees. Some people positively view this by avoiding social interaction, while others suggest that self-checkout systems lead to social isolation. Employees at the self-checkout machines should do their best to assist customers experiencing problems using them.
The second article, “Millennials’ Intention to Use Self-Checkout Technology in Different Fashion Retail Formats: Perceived Benefits and Risks,” is a scholarly article that takes a more focused approach by examining self-checkout technology in different types of fashion stores and the positive and negative effects of the self-checkout devices. It focuses on millennials’ need to use self-checkout devices in different fashion stores. According to the authors, millennials are currently dominating the consumer markets with significant purchasing power. The article is authored by Hanna Lee and Karen K. Leonas and was published in the year 2021. From the article’s view on self-checkout technology, it is clear that the audience is retail store owners, specifically fashion stores, who need to understand how to improve their customers’ purchasing experience. The article introduces the whole concept of self-checkout devices and describes how the need for these devices has increased in the fashion industry. Before doing the actual study, the hypothesis of the perceived benefits and risks are suggested, including enjoyment, user control, ease of use, and speed of operation. The article uses a quantitative research method by incorporating a web-based survey to gather data on millennials’ perceived benefits and risks of using self-checkouts in different fashion retail formats. The authors employ various rhetorical strategies to make their argument about self-checkout devices. Empirical evidence used helps to provide information about the benefits and risks of self-checkout technology. For instance, it was found that 92% of the participants used self-checkout technology. Like Andrew Mosteller, the findings of the study show that the self-checkout systems have both positive and negative implications on millennials’ shopping practices in fashion stores. Hanna and Leonas found that “speed was perceived as a self-checkout key benefit only in fast-fashion stores, where the focus is on maximizing efficiency, unlike other fashion retail formats” (Hanna and Leonas 12). Since customers in fashion stores are more concerned about maximizing efficiency, there need to spend less time in the store. Self-checkout systems are needed in fashion stores to help cater to the need for convenience brought about by millennials. Furthermore, the ease-of-use functionality of self-checkout devices brings a benefit to fashion stores. Millennials are concerned with being able to go along with their shopping with ease. This demonstrates that the self-checkout devices should be placed in a well-accessible place and an assistant place close by to help those in need. “Millennials expect to have control over their shopping” (Hanna and Leonas 13) and view self-checkout as an opportunity to take such control. The existence of self-checkout devices allows this. Self-checkout devices offer enjoyment to millennials while shopping in fashion stores.
The negative impact of self-checkout devices according to Hanna and Leonas’ article includes technology failure and the need for human interaction. All technological devices are prone to error. Consumers of self-checkout devices fear that there is a risk of failure involved in the usage of self-check devices. Millennials expect the devices to be error-free so they enjoy the speed, ease of use, and control they offer. Also, it is expected that a salesperson be selected to assist in the operations of the devices. Additionally, like in Andrew Mosteller’s study, it was seen that self-check devices reduce social interaction. Some customers are unhappy with the fact that there is no interaction with any employee, while others support social isolation. According to Hanna and Leonas, some millennials argue that “individuals with less need for human interaction are more likely to be confident in their abilities” (Hanna and Leonas 14).
From a rhetorical analysis view of the article, it is clear the authors effectively present the finding. The article is organized in a clear manner beginning with an introduction to the self-checkout technology, hypothesis, method, finding, and discussion. Furthermore, there is an effective use of ethos whereby the authors provide credibility by providing background on self-checkout technology. There is also clear use of logos by utilization of quantitative methods to use a web-based survey to gather data from the correspondent. From the above view of the two articles, both articles use different strategies to present their arguments. Andrew Mosteller’s article takes a more general approach by presenting an overview of the pros and cons of self-checkouts across different retail formats. In contrast, the Lee and Leonas article takes a more targeted approach by focusing on millennials’ attitudes towards self-checkouts in fashion stores.
In conclusion, the two articles provide a comprehensive overview of the pros and cons of self-checkout technology across different retail formats. Andrew Mosteller’s article offers a more general perspective, while Hanna Lee and Karen K. Leonas’ article provides a more targeted analysis of millennials’ attitudes towards self-checkouts in fashion stores. Both articles acknowledge the potential benefits and drawbacks of self-checkouts, including speeds, less space needed, drawbacks, such as technology failure, and lack of personal interactions.
Lee, Hanna, and Karen K. Leonas. “Millennials’ intention to use self-checkout technology in different fashion retail formats: perceived benefits and risks.” Clothing and Textiles Research Journal 39.4 (2021): 264-280.
Andrew Mosteller. “The Pros and Cons of Using Self-Checkouts.” Business.org, 14 Dec. 2022, www.business.org/software/point-of-sale/the-pros-and-cons-of-using-self-checkouts/.