Ringing Up A New Era: Self-Checkout Tested at HQ Express

Alex Real and Lisa Comstock said self-checkout technology will eventually be ideal for small Exchange stores that may have only one or two associates.

The Exchange is testing self-checkout at the HQ’s Express as another way to boost satisfaction for customers who want to grab and go.

Two self-checkout kiosks opened July 8, replacing a single cash register. During its first day, self-checkout accounted for 34% of the transactions and 16% of store sales.

“These self-checkout lines are designed for grab-and-go purchases like coffee, popcorn and soda,” said project developer Alex Real. “In the field, these kiosks are great for Soldiers and Airmen who want to go in, grab something quick like a protein bar, and be gone.”

Self-checkout may provide a solution for Expresses and small troop and branch stores often staffed by one or two associates who stock shelves, mop floors and serve customers, said Lisa Comstock, an IT manager who is helping Real develop the system.

“People today, like me, want to get in and get out and not have to wait in line,” said HQ Payroll Tech Johnny Barnes.

Customers with cash or coupons must go to regular cashier lines.

“Right now, we’re taking baby steps with the prototype that will ultimately take us toward a better product,” Real said. “We’ve already changed some things based on what we’re learning from customers, where they are struggling, what slows them down, what buttons they can’t find.”

Managers in the field are eager to implement self-checkout after viewing a prototype at the MSM/GM conference in May. Real and Comstock said they will get a better idea of when self-checkout will roll out once testing is completed.

“The more people we showed this to, the more they got excited,” Real said.

HQ Express Manager Rebecca Spencer said the self-checkouts enable her store to operate more efficiently.

“The self-checkouts allow the staff to branch out and do more on the sales floor, such as keeping our shelves stocked, working with promotions and making sure Snack Avenue is full all the time,” Spencer said. “They’re not restricted behind cash registers.”


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