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Shoppers Drug Mart rolls out self-checkouts

Expansion of self-service option follows a successful test pilot

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Things will be moving right along in the checkout lines at Shoppers Drug Mart.

The retailer is rolling out self-checkout units at 140 locations across the country.

The rollout, which will be completed by the end of this year, follows a successful test pilot that launched in 2016 at four Shoppers Drug Mart stores in Toronto. According to the company, the self-checkouts have proven to help congestion and have resulted in improved customer service levels.

In an email to Canadian Grocer, Chris Gardner, vice-president of national operations at Shoppers Drug Mart, said the 140 locations were selected because they experience “spurts” of customers throughout the day, for example, lunchtime crowds, before and after work, and rush hours.

While millennials are known for their affinity for self-service, Shoppers Drug Mart’s initiative isn’t targeted to a specific demographic. “It was more about our value proposition to be the best in convenience and speaks to our commitment to have more checkouts available during high-traffic periods,” said Gardner. “Self checkout is also a great option for customers who only have a few items in their basket and prefer not to wait at a traditional checkout.”

That said, customers who use the self-checkout will have to pay with plastic or a smartphone–the units don’t take cash.

“The decision to go cashless is largely driven by the fact that the majority of purchases made at Shoppers Drug Mart are via credit, debit or via mobile (Apple Pay, Google wallet or mobile apps),” said Gardner.

“By not having cash accepted at the registers, it simplifies the experience and allows for a quicker checkout time. Additionally, by going cashless at self checkout we are able to reduce the size of each unit making a sleek kiosk that fits very well in our small footprint stores.”

Gardner said in some cases, if the physical space is not available at the checkout area, an under-utilized traditional checkout will be removed to make room for the self-checkout unit. “Each store is unique and each individual layout is carefully reviewed to make the best decision for that specific location.”

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