Photos: Woolworths Fastlane checkout

Photos: Woolworths Fastlane checkout

Summary: Woolworths is rolling out technology that lets shoppers scan and pay for their own groceries — but the checkout girl isn't an endangered species just yet.


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  • A Woolworths Fastlane terminal — Featuring animated directions for customers, barcode scanner and weighing scales.

  • A customer at Sydney's Northbridge Woolworths working with the Fastlane self service checkout interface.

Topics: E-Commerce, Banking, Government AU

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  • About Time

    Hopefully this will help with the weekend and holiday rush times. It is a shame it has taken Australian stores so long to adopt technology that has been out for over 5 years in other countries.
  • Oh Lord...

    I used to work at Big W and was among the first workers to operate and maintain them. And to be honest, those first units were rubbish.

    Although they have improved greatly since then, even now I don't believe they are ready to be used for large quantities of groceries like they inevitably will be. The hardware and software just isn't developed enough yet.
  • No thank you

    Why would I spend the time to check myself out when there are staff who are trained to do this quickly and accurately. I had noticed the reduction in staff lately (about 10-20% or registeres open at any time), which resulted in much longer lines, so I wasn't surprised to see these units come to my local store. It ticks me off that companies are making their customers do more and more work, while at the same time their profits go up and up.

    I'm not interested in these self-checkout units unless they upgrade their systems to trolly based scanning units (scan when you put the item into the trolly) or RFID (wheel the trolly through reader and all groceries in the trolly are read in one go). Realistically we are about 5 years behind some of the European countries in this respect.
  • Old news

    This has been available in a number of Coles stores in Melbourne for over a year.
  • The Person Factor

    The fact is, most customers are stupid enough to have trouble getting through the checkout with an associate to help them. God help them trying to do it themselves.

    Furthermore, I wonder how many of the poor automatons going through there will have trouble finding their money when it comes out.
  • automated checkout

    we've had these in the United States for about 10 years. It's great if it works. As always, something can go wrong in checking out your items.
  • No thank you

    You are right that the corporate goal is not to make it easier on the customer, but to eliminate jobs. This happened all over the U.S. beginning years ago, when gas companies instituted a "pump your own gas" policy, claiming it would "save money". It did save money -- for the oil companies. It allowed them to eliminate a lot of service station jobs, and
    have their customers not only pay continually rising prices, but to do the work they USED to have to pay employees to do. This is the same pattern you see everywhere -- customers not only paying increasingly high prices, but having absolutely no customer service. And of course workers finding less and less possibility of employment.
  • Your so wrong its not funny

    It is completly an option to use these checkouts, I have done a two day training course on this machine for woolies and what you have stated is entirely wrong, staff will no be reduced infact it requires more staff on duty than normal to operate, and requires more hours, need to start 30mins earlier than the store opens to set the machines up, and stay back 30mins after store closes. as stated the machines are completly optional, if you wish to get out of the store quicker, then you have the OPTION of putting the shopping through yourself, this means you are not standing around waiting in queues and the waiting for the person to put your shopping through, if you are doing something then the time goes quicker naturally, I work at woolies and my hours have gone up, it has also opened more opportunities for me to move up in my store, this is a benifit for the customer, and requires much more work from staff (the machines are quite complex),

    and the systems you have mentioned are a fantasy and then the staff that you were so worried about loosing jobs, will definatly have no jobs,

    No one has been made redundant in my store, no one will be, hours are going up

    completly wrong

  • woolworths slow lane checkout

    they have queues anyway so no diffrent, might as well just wait for the staff to do it for you. Also if you cant see this will reduce staff in the long run then you are as stupid as the customers that use them.
  • clumsy

    My local BigW & Woolies have had these for a while and they are rubbish. The system is not intuitive and is very "fumbly". If you buy something large, it just can't work as you can't place it in the weight frame with the standard plastic bag. Even if you only have a few items, it doesn't work smoothly.

    Yesterday, the lines for the fast checkouts were as big as the operator checkoput lines. I noticed that the operator processed about 3 to 1 people, that is, for every three people who moved in the operator line, only 1 person moved in the self help line.
  • frogger

    Funny stuff. Of course the idea is to eliminate staff, not immediately but eventually. First of all you have to ween your average thick as a brick australian off the checkout operator or otherwise you'd have ACA and TT running mindless stories about faulty machines ripping off old ladies. You've got to get the dummies used to the system first, then you can sack all of your staff. Thinking that mechanisation in this area would lead to more jobs though is pretty fucking daft dude. But who cares what happens to Woolies/Coles staff anyway, in this country they should be doing something more productive anyway like going to uni, building houses or being plumbers or nurses, and when machines make them redundent, find something new!!!