Advertise with

Is there room for self-checkout in South Africa?

Oct 18th 2012, 08:09

Is there room for self-checkout in South Africa?

A recent trip to the UK drew my attention to how retail technology has developed since my last visit. In particular, I was excited to see the progress made by self checkout in UK supermarkets. I can’t help but wonder how successful this would be in South African retail, if used in the right conditions.

In the UK self-checkout, self-scanning and 24 hour grocery stores are proliferating at a rapid pace. With fewer staff in store, extended hours become more feasible and the convenience factor certainly multiplies out.

This is in stark contrast to my experience of rushing to my local supermarket to buy a much-needed grocery item before closing time at 19:00, and then having to wait in a long queue behind a shopper who is trying to pay for a trolley of goods and a telephone bill with a credit card that will not authorise. A self checkout point would certainly have been a welcome alternative in this instance.

It would work well in a 10-items-or-less queue and will certainly reduce time spent in store, when coupled with other modern payment methods. It would, in turn, make a large-format hypermarket into a true convenience offering.

Although retailers aren’t necessarily looking to reduce the number of staff they employ, they do want to speed up the checkout process.

Self-service points would greatly improve efficiency in convenience stores as well as in the few 24-hour food stores we have, namely for the same reasons above Again shoppers just want to grab a few essentials and checkout; they don’t have time to browse.

While this technology has its own set of challenges (it requires supervision by staff, for example), it can be used to create a more user-friendly shopping experience, albeit in a controlled environment.

Please feel free to make comments or raise new issues by

What’s on your mind?
Do you think there is room for self-checkout in South African retail. Vote in our or your comments to our editor.

Image from
BMi Research: dilutable beverages in South Africa
The Dilutables category has been a resilient category during the recent recession however volumes have come under pressure in 2011. Dilutables volume growth in 2011 was minimal.

The outlook for 2012 is that volumes will continue to grow, and will grow at a rate closer to that of previous years. Read more

Go to the BMi Research website
Walmart development fund doubles
South African government has welcomed the Competition Appeal Court's decision, instructing retail giant Walmart to set up a R240 million supplier development fund as a condition for it acquiring South African retailer Massmart.
· Namibia: Trustco/Shoprite Introduce Free Life Cover
· Woolworths responds to “Union threatens Woolworths with court”
· South African wines make it onto Walmart stores’ shelves
· Partnership, innovation and empowerment: A roadmap for forecourt retailing success
· Massmart welcomes court ruling
View all Retailer News
SA’s growth in manufacturing output for August loses some steam
Growth in manufacturing output slumped in August to 3 percent year on year, Statistics SA said last week. However, Nedbank’s economic unit described the figure as “much better than expected, despite the slowing from the 6.3 percent achieved in July”.
View all Economic News
Dentyne’s fresh new flavours splash onto the scene
This October, Dentyne is proud to introduce two new refreshing flavours to its envelope slab gum range; Dentyne Strawberry Passion and Dentyne Spearmint.
Slicing and dicing to a healthier you
A fresh salad for the summer season is a great way to fuel your body with all the nutrients that it requires. With the new Moulinex Fresh Express you don’t have to spend hours chopping veggies, the slicer and grater will save both time and energy in the kitchen.
New take on baked beans from Rhodes
With two delicious new innovations in the Baked Beans category, Rhodes is set to introduce a delightful new meaning to “good enough to eat from the can”.
Liqui Fruit juices up their appearance
Established more than 30 years ago and famously known by the slogan ‘Nothing but Fruit’ South African beverage manufacturer Liqui Fruit, the originator of long shelf life pure fruit juice has had to reassess their corporate branding to maintain their competitive advantage.
Celebrate Le Good Life with festive J.C. Le Roux Brut gift pack
A gorgeous festive season gift pack, boasting the classically styled yet refreshingly youthful Brut from The House of J.C. Le Roux is the ultimate stylish gift to share Le Good Life with your loved ones.
Double dose of Le Good Life in J.C. Le Roux Cap Classique gift pack
Celebrate the festive season with pure bubbly bliss in the shape of a stylish J.C. Le Roux Cap Classique twin gift pack, available exclusively at Makro. With this ever so chic duo of J.C. Le Roux Brut and La Vallée, Le Good Life will follow you wherever you go this summer.
OBiKWA Pinotage Rosé sticks its neck out with refreshing new plumage
OBiKWA, the adventurous, fun loving, everyday range of affordable varietal wines, is strutting its stuff in refreshing new plumage seen for the first time on the 2012 vintage of the blushing OBiKWA Pinotage Rosé.
Theuniskraal gets a new look
Theuniskraal, one of Tulbagh’s best-known wine farms and South Africa's first white-wine estate, has given its range a more elegant look and at the same time switched from traditional cork closures to screwcap.
View all New Products
SA not seeking 'wine war' with UK
South Africa said last week, it wants to avoid a tit-for-tat alcohol import war with Britain over increased bulk wine sales that have cost jobs in the local bottling industry.
· Olmeca's social media record
· A new era in poultry processing
· SABMiller takes Chibuku across Africa
· Worldwide PC shipments decline 8% in Q3
View all Supplier News
Pioneer Foods launches education and community trust
Pioneer Foods, one of South Africa’s leading food manufacturers, has established an independent education and community trust as part of its broad based black economic empowerment initiatives.
Stafford Bros & Draeger wins distributorship
Stafford Bros & Draeger, known for their fine range of superior products, and many other brands, mainly imported, have recently been awarded the distributorship in South Africa for two new products – Sunquick and Sun Lolly.
‘Do the Dew’ with Mountain Dew’s new marketing campaign
Mountain Dew, the soft drink brand from PepsiCo, has launched its latest interactive awareness campaign, aimed at young men between the ages of 18 and 21. The campaign, which links into the social gaming environment, was devised to increase the brand’s online presence while driving trial and engagement via an entertaining platform.
Taste the passion of Mexico
The taste of Bandito’s takes enthusiasts to another world - the world of Mexico in a range of sizzling new Bandito’s recipes. Fantastic. Delicious. And easy, easy, easy!
View all Brand Activity
We’ve put brand catalogues together for Casademont and El Pastor, both part of Tacoma Foods catalogues are a central repository where FMCG brands can store and share hi-res pack shots and essential product information for each SKU, on-demand, including barcodes, product endorsements, nutritional values, ingredients and allergens.
Need this for you FMCG brand? Learn more here.

Online catalogue | Share with others
Casademont have over 50 years’ experience and leadership in preparing meat products, Casademont looks to the future with the challenge of consolidating their position based on the concerns of a 21st- century company. They are dedicated to service, excellence in quality and respect for the environment with their main objective being to customer and consumer satisfaction.
El Pastor
Online catalogue | Share with others
El Pastor was founded in 1947 by D. Salvador Rodriguez. One of the most important Spanish cheese producers in Spain with a production of 10 million kilograms of Spanish Cheese per year. A high quality product with strict controls over all aspects of the process.
Double gold glory for Desiderius Pongrácz at 2012 Veritas Awards
Pongrácz seized the moment and triumphed with a Double Gold medal, the highest accolade at the prestigious 2012 Veritas Awards for the singularly noble flagship, Desiderius Pongrácz 2003.
Distell dazzles at 2012 Veritas Awards
Distell wines amassed a trove of double golds and golds at the 2012 Veritas Awards, given by the panel of mostly local judges but also several experts flown in from Europe and the East.
Two Oceans favoured by consumers and critics, as sales rise
Popularly priced wine brand Two Oceans appears to be pleasing both the people and the critics. As global volumes continue to swell, news comes of more international accolades, including a score of 90 earned in the US, Best Buy recommendations and medals won in Europe.
Nederburg hits the sweet spot on two more continents
Nederburg’s seductive sweet wines are working their charms across the world with a new set of accolades, this time in the US and South Africa, after winning top scores, trophies and medals on competitive events in France, the UK and Australia.
KWV claims overall victory at Veritas Awards for the second year running
There was nothing that could contain the joyful outbursts at the table occupied by KWV’s wine and brandy team in the final moments of the Veritas Awards, held on Saturday, 6 October. Having been named overall winners last year, the team repeated the rare feat and again collected their haul of medals in front of one of the industry’s biggest gatherings in Cape Town.
View all Liquor News
Pocketmedia Solutions
Spotting a gap in the marketing and communications market, the Z-CARD® was developed…
read more
Pocketmedia Solutions making headlines:
· Protea Hospitality Group puts SA on the map with a Z-CARD®
· Baitain pouches a Coloplast sample with PocketMedia®
· Clover creams its competitors with PocketMedia®
· Turkish Yapi Kredi drives sales with a custom shaped Z-CARD®
At Nampak, Africa's largest packaging company, we offer the broadest product range of…
read more
Nampak making headlines:
· Clover’s new carry handle is way better
· Alternapak and Nampak join forces
· Nampak Liquid sponsors Food & Trees for Africa
· ‘Safe as Houses’ – Nampak Flexible achieves OHSAS 18001
Its about Collaboration and competition – Consumer Goods Council
Officially opening the annual Consumer Goods Council South Africa (CGC SA) Conference in Johannesburg on Wednesday 10 October, CGC SA CEO Gwarega Mangozhe says that it appears that Africa is finally setting course for living up to its promise, but as with any large scale, fundamental change, it comes with pain of shaking off the old order.
Protea Hospitality Group puts SA on the map with a Z-CARD®
The Protea Hospitality Group selected a Z-CARD® as its communication platform to market South Africa as a destination of choice and to convey its South African product offering to its target audience at a recent international workshop held in South America.
Continental coutures its flex
Continental Outdoor Media has once again entertained its clients, suppliers and friends by presenting a fashion show with a unique angle – all the garments shown were made from old Flex Faces off Continental billboards.
Zetes’ traceability solution ensures compliance with quality & safety standards at food processor Tereos Syral
Tereos Syral is one of Europe’s largest producers of starch products and its business is expanding rapidly. To sustain growth levels and support increased interest from customers for information on product quality and origins, the company engaged Zetes to deploy an international track and trace solution.
Strategy Recruitment Marketing
Strategy Recruitment Marketing is focused on providing tailor-made, alternative recruitment solutions that are based on out-the-box strategic and creative thinking, detailed processes, and keeping abreast of the latest recruitment practices and technology through understanding each client´s critical success factors, to produce impactful results cost-effectively.
Nicolene Di Bartolo Managed Appointments
Leadership is action... not position! Business Leaders engage our services to identify individuals who will elevate their organisations to new heights. It is our mission to source exceptional talent in mid-to executive management levels across all job categories. We support these extraordinary individuals in furthering their careers.
About us
Fastmoving provides online data support and marketing services to FMCG brands and businesses operating in the retail sector. Our inventory management service is a central repository where FMCG brands can store and share hi-res pack shots and essential product information with suppliers for each SKU, on-demand, including barcodes, product endorsements, nutritional values, ingredients and allergens.
To find out more about our services, contact Editorial contact
Vivienne Ayerst
For general enquiries

Tina Baney
For national sales enquiries

For editorial:
Wendy Smith