Check out self-service machines in supermarts

Check out self-service machines in supermarts
PHOTO: The Straits Times

Despite the increasing number of self-checkout machines in supermarkets, many consumers still prefer to head to a cashier instead.

A new campaign by the National Productivity Council aims to change this by getting more consumers comfortable with using such self-service facilities.

According to a survey commissioned by the council in July, 60 per cent of the 1,000 respondents were aware of such facilities and only about half of them - 53.4 per cent - have used self-service machines.

To encourage more consumers to adopt self-service or do-it-yourself (DIY) options, the council launched the We Are InDIYpendent campaign yesterday.

With an ageing workforce and more people retiring over the next decade, the best option for business efficiency and productivity lies in user-friendly DIY technology and equipment, said Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say at the campaign's launch at FairPrice Xtra at Nex mall in Serangoon.

To encourage more consumers to use self-service machines, those who do so at participating merchants from now until the end of next month will get discounts or enjoy promotions. These partners are supermarket chains FairPrice, Cold Storage and Sheng Siong, as well as Changi Airport Group, cinema group Golden Village and snack chain Old Chang Kee's Curry Times Tingkat eateries.

More than half of those polled said they do not use self-checkout machines as they are unsure of how to use them and they do not want to hold up the queue.

Thus, there is a need for the campaign, said Mr Lim. "We need to go though this campaign to assure the public, the consumer at large, that actually these machines are easy to use and that there will be help at hand to help them go through it."

Housewife Sherry Lim, 47, said she has seen self-checkout machines at supermarkets but has not used them. "I prefer going to the cashier; I'm afraid things may go wrong. But I think it's time to learn, it doesn't look too hard," she said.

This article was first published on Nov 9, 2015.
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