Self-checkouts can be a career builder, not a job killer


JL’s Home Hardware is a three-store operation in Guelph, Ont., about an hour west of Toronto. Those stores, a building centre and two hardware stores, are the first Home Hardware stores to get self-checkout technology. But dealer-owner Andre Belisle said that the stores are not going to replace humans with machines.

In fact, new technology like this can free up workers from mundane jobs, giving them an opportunity for career advancement while enabling employers to maximize the talent they already have working for them. Especially when finding help of any kind can be a challenge, not requiring a warm body to perform a task that technology can fulfil will give an employer many more options.

“The self-checkouts are already tested and fully operational as an added service and option for customers who wish to use it,” Belisle said. “Our full-service checkout option will always remain. Our intention is to improve our service for our customers and that includes providing options for any customer’s preference.”

Acceo, a retail technology provider based in Montreal, installed the self-checkout units at JL’s, as well as at RONA Matériaux Magog Orford, a building centre in in Magog, Que., and the first RONA independent dealer to get the technology. However, a number of Lowe’s Canada’s corporate stores have got the technology, as well.

“In Canada in the last 12 months, we in Canada installed between four and six self-checkouts in every single one of our big box stores,” said Tony Cioffi, president of Lowe’s Canada, when he spoke at the 2022 Hardlines Conference.

“It’s been a godsend! We all know the challenges we’ve had [in this industry] in our labour market. In some of our markets, particularly Quebec City, the south shore of Montreal, Vancouver, where it’s difficult to find staff, we’ve been able to take some of the cashiers and upskill them to become sales associates. It gives them a chance to growth their careers. Consumers like self checkout.”

Cioffi summed up the impact on a worker of this kind of addition to a store, noting that “this is empowering the associate with the technology.”