Discount variety chain Dollar General is looking to self-checkout as a way to “leverage and reinforce our position as a low-cost operator,” COO Jeff Owen told analysts on the company’s Q1 earnings call on May 26, 2022.
Dollar General already has self-checkout kiosks in 8,000 of its 18,000 stores and plans to increase that number to 11,000 by the end of this year. Now, Owens said the company also plans to begin testing a 100% self-checkout store format across 200 locations this year.
“Self-checkout provides customers with another flexible and convenient checkout solution, while also driving greater efficiencies for our store associates,” said Owens on the earnings call. “We continue to be pleased with our results, including strong customer adoption rates. As a result of the success of self-checkout and popularity with customers, we have recently launched a pilot of stores that are entirely self-checkout. When combined with our data-driven inventory management, we believe these efforts will reduce store workload and drive greater efficiencies for our retail associates and leaders.”
Efficiency and cost-savings are the name of the game for retailers these days, and many are also looking to self-checkout as one way to achieve both. DSW, Circle K and Bed Bath & Beyond are just a few of the many retailers planning deployments of self-checkout solutions.
At a discount retailer like Dollar General, controlling costs is perhaps even more crucial. As Owens framed it, the ability to keep company costs down is how it also keeps prices low for its customers. “[Our] zero-based budgeting approach, internally branded as ‘Save to Serve,’ keeps the customer at the center of all we do, while reinforcing our cost control mindset,” said Owens.
Other recent cost reduction initiatives have included the deployment of “rolltainers” (rolling containers that facilitate faster warehouse to shelf transfers) and case pack optimization, which Owens said has led to the more efficient stocking of Dollar General stores. Looking forward, the company plans to increase its “utilization of emerging technology and data strategies, which includes putting new digital tools in the hands of our field leaders,” he added.