Checkout is so much an integral part of retailing. In the world of big box retailing, in fact, checkout may be the only time a customer directly relates to someone representing the retailer. So why are retailers trying so hard to get rid of their only opportunity to connect with their customers?
Because checkout costs them a pretty penny.
As per a Reuters story Wal-Mart says it can save $12 million a year for every second it can cut from the average checkout time at the Wal-Mart chain in the United States. Supermarkets typically have slim margins and profitability and therefore are likely to seek any advantage to reduce on labor that can account for 8-10% or more of sales.