- CVS has eliminated self-checkout registers at some Boston locations, Fortune reported.
- It remains unclear if the drugstore chain will remove the registers from other stores.
- Although personnel at two Boston CVS stores told Fortune their removal reflects a chain-wide decision, a spokeswoman from the retailer corrected that characterization. “Some stores have reverted back to staff check out stations based on a normal review of store locations,” while “assisted” self-checkout stations will remain in some stores, she said.
Self-checkout registers, designed to reduce payroll costs, work spottily. As Fortune noted, the self-service registers at CVS sometimes fail to scan coupons properly, for one, which means shoppers still often need the help of sales associates to complete the purchase process.
Costco eliminated its checkout stations in 2013 because workers do a better job than machines, executives from the retailer said at the time.
The move comes amid a retail payment landscape, and thus the whole checkout process in general, in flux as retailers test different ways to speed up the checkout lane. Many companies in the last year have launched different apps that allow for consumers to use their phones to tap and pay for their purchases, but despite the hype it’s still unclear if mobile payments, or “mobile wallets,” will become mainstream.
While the Apple Pay platform has garnered the most attention and industry support thus far, signing on big retailers from Best Buy to Macy’s, no industry wide mobile payment standard has emerged. Noticeably, CVS has chosen not to accept Apple Pay although it is a part of MCX, a group of retailers developing their own alternative mobile payment dubbed CurrentC, which has been plagued by launch delays .