Target is testing changes to its self-checkout lanes in hopes of tamping down on customer wait times, multiple news outlets report.
The retailer said it’s testing item limits in self-checkout areas at select stores, though specific locations weren’t disclosed, according to CNN.
Shoppers at these stores are restricted to 10 items or less at self-checkout and will be sent to a traditional cashier if they have more, a Target spokesperson told the outlet. For now, it’s unclear if there are plans to expand the test to additional stores.
McClatchy News reached out to Target for comment Nov. 21 and was awaiting a response.
Company executives said Target has already seen a slight uptick in shoppers using full-service checkout to complete their purchases, Nexstar reported.
“Since our goal is for Target to be the easiest place for our guests to shop, our teams have been focused on the front-of-store experience,” John Mulligan, Target’s chief operating officer, said on a recent earnings call, according to the outlet.
“Our guests tell us they enjoy interacting with our team ...,” Mulligan said.
News of the change drew the ire of some shoppers, who voiced their criticism online.
@Target Instead of me doing the job of employees and not paid for at your expanding self-checkout, how about you give up some of your earnings and hire more people so more than three registers are open for checkout.
— Jeff (@Marine_Skyhawk) November 21, 2023
Target created the problem by not having enough cashiers so people did self checkout. Now they are trying to fix their own problem. They better start by having more registers open or people will start buying less. https://t.co/9qdKdONPFd
— ️Andrea️ (@andreajessica) November 21, 2023
@Target your new self checkout policy of 10 items or less is stupid what are you going to do about people who are in a hurry or people who do delivery orders like instacart who have to get to a customer fast or other customers!
— Nathan Cromwell (@ncrmwll) November 21, 2023
@Target .Guess what? This guest does not enjoy interacting and just wants to shop. This policy has been in effect at the Target near me for a month now…and I have only shopped once since and bought 10 or less. The rest of my what I used to spend there has gone to other stores.
— Lizbeth Murph️⚧️ (@funnyhorse) November 21, 2023
Target is just the latest retailer to tweak its self-checkout policy. In June, Costco started requiring shoppers to flash their membership cards in the self-checkout line as the club store cracked down on so-called “membership sharing.”
“We don’t feel it’s right that non members receive the same benefits and pricing as our members,” the company said in a statement at the time.
Costco members whose cards don’t include their picture must show a photo ID.
Despite the push back, Target executives said their goal is to ensure customers receive “consistently great service” at checkout, Fox Business reported.
“Since we’ve refocused on the front-end experience, we’ve seen more than a 6 percentage point increase in the usage of full service lanes across the chain,” Mulligan said, according to the outlet.