Walmart Shuts Down Self-Checkout Options and the Reason is Not Surprising

By: Lauren | Last updated: Nov 18, 2023

Walmart is the largest big-box retailer on the planet, and while the conglomerate has always struggled with theft, recently, it seems to be getting worse.

Walmart has noticed that one of the main causes of the increased theft is due to customers stealing when using the company’s popular self-checkout stations. Therefore, Walmart has decided to shut down self-checkouts in several stores, including those in Ontario, Canada.

Walmart Self-Checkouts

Just a few years ago, Walmart made an announcement that it would be increasing self-checkout counters in its stores around the world.

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Source: Walmart

The original idea was that self-checkout would eliminate lane lines and reduce the need for excessive staff. However, the self-checkout areas are now being turned back into standard checkout lanes with a staff member stationed at each one.

Walmart Reports $5 Billion Lost to Theft in 2021

Walmart has been experiencing increased theft over the past several years. In fact, in 2021, though the company brought in an incredible $559 billion in revenue, it also claimed to have lost $ 5 billion because of theft.

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Source: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

In order to combat this issue, Walmart is not only closing self-checkout counters around the world, it’s also installing additional security measures.

What Do Walmart Shoppers Think?

The response from Walmart shoppers regarding the removal of self-checkout options is divided. Some argue that self-checkout is faster and more convenient and are disappointed that the service is no longer an option.

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Source: Walmart

However, some actually prefer associate managed checkouts. These customers say that it’s not their “job” to run their items, and far prefer full-service stations where a staff member handles their checkout.

What Does This Mean for the Future of Walmart’s Checkout Services?

In 2020, Walmart released an announcement that stated they planned to reinvent the checkout system. Instead of standard checkout lines, the entire system would operate as self-checkout but with staff around to assist when necessary.

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Source: Walmart

Though it seems like this plan will not be put into place, at least in some locations, and that in fact, Walmart will be returning to the standard checkout lines retail stores have used for decades.