Some scholars who follow the retail food industry say decisions by Big Y and others to do away with the self-serve checkout lanes aren't necessarily the death knell of the trend. Home Depot and some other businesses, which cater to customers with a do-it-yourself mentality, report success with their self-serve lanes.
But not all supermarket shoppers share that mentality, and whether they embrace or reject the self-serve option may come down to demographics — such as whether they're in a tech-savvy region — and other factors that the supermarkets cannot control.
"I think some of the stores are just deciding that, on the balance, it's a negative. Other stores, because they have a different composition of shoppers, are deciding to keep it," John Stanton, a professor of food marketing at St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia, said of the self-serve option.
"I don't think this is as much a referendum on the technology as much as it is a match between the technology and the customer base," he said.
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