Invention: Self-Serve Kiosks
I have to admit that I do love self-serve kiosks at Walmart
that allow me to skip long lines and check myself out. Additionally, I love the
fact that I can bag my items just the way I want to bag them. What started as a
few self-serve kiosks has now multiplied greatly to multiple self-serve kiosks.
The kiosks at my local Walmart started out small, very small. There was a very small
work area to check out and a small bagging area. Recently, some of the kiosks at
my local Walmart have been integrated into the regular checkout lines with the
rolling conveyor check out. I can put an entire cart of groceries on the
checkout counter and as I scan an item and bag it, the roller brings up the
next item. What an improvement!
There is a trend among companies seeking to save money by
using technology rather than human power (The Future Kiosk). Using self-serve
kiosks is one way to accomplish this goal. Christmann (2018) notes that self-serve
kiosks are a “…part of a national trend toward automation at stores and
restaurants, driven by more tech-savvy consumers, less expensive and
easier-to-implement technology, and the rising costs of unskilled human labor. Researchers
say increased automation could put workers out of jobs, especially as they
advocate for higher wages” (para 3).
Christmann noted these facts in 2018, moving on to 2019, I
found that retail kiosk projections for this year will be even far greater
(Maras, 2019). With the projection of more and more kiosks this year, one
should keep in mind that 2018 was “…a banner year for interactive kiosks…”
(Maras, 2019, para 1). That’s says something about where we are heading!
Wiseguysreports.com projects that self-serve kiosks will continue to grow for
many years to come. I have witnessed one employee working as many as ten of
these self-serve kiosks at one time, moving from kiosk to kiosk as the need
arises. Clearly, self-serve kiosks allow for a larger amount of people to check
out in a shorter amount of time, while requiring fewer employees to do so.
What is driving this move to more technology? Maras (2019)
notes that technology is cheaper than hiring more employees and that employees
are overburdened and need the self-serve kiosks to ease that burden. Self-serve
kiosks allow employers to lower their costs to operate and at the same time
attract customers who prefer the ease of use of such (Maras, 2019). I know I
certainly do enjoy the ease of use of self-checkout kiosks and I am not
surprised that others do as well.
Technology continues to move forward each and every day. It
may not be too long before even the self-checkout kiosks, still new and upcoming,
are obsolete. In researching, I discovered that there are apps already
available that can be used right from our phones to scan and pay for items
without ever going through any sort of check-out line. This technology encourages
us to “skip the line” altogether. Something to think about and to keep an eye
on for sure! This goes to show that no matter how great a product is, there is
always something greater on the horizon. Innovation and invention is always on
S. (2018, May 03). The rise of the machine: Stores and restaurants turn to
self-service kiosks. Retrieved February 17, 2019, from
E. (2019, January 04). Retail kiosk outlook: 2019 expected to surpass 2018.
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Checkout. (n.d.). Retrieved February 17, 2019, from
Future Kiosk – What Does It Look Like? (2018, October 04). Retrieved February
17, 2019, from https://kioskindustry.org/the-future-of-kiosks/
(n.d.). Self-service Kiosk Market 2019 Global Industry – Key Players, Size,
Trends, Opportunities, Growth- Analysis to 2025. Retrieved February 17, 2019,