When retail meets innovation

Self-service shopping is no longer a concept of the future. Early last month, an image of a self-service check-out machine at a Pick n Pay  (the second largest supermarket retail chain store in South Africa) was circulated on social media and sparked widespread debate.

Concerns were raised by the South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union and the Congress of South African Trade Unions. They expressed that the implementation of self-service tills could lead to tremendous job cuts for South African retail workers.

According to Statistics South Africa, the current unemployment rate in South Africa is 26.6%.

Pick n Pay has however come out to dismiss these claims, saying that the self-service machines are being put to the test at a single store in Ottery, Cape Town and will operate in addition to cashier-manned check-out counters as we know it, thus not negatively impacting on employment.

Pick n Pay’s Group Executive: Retail Office at Pick n Pay, Cobus Barnard said that the trial could take up to six months to produce consumer insights worth measuring.

He said: “We’re always looking for new ways to help our customers make their shopping easier and more convenient, so yes, we’re testing it out in one of our stores to see how customers would react. Customers are time-strapped, so this is a nice way to help them when they are in hurry.”


These technological advancements are part of the many that form part of the 4th Industrial Revolution, which is extensively uncovered in the second edition of BRICS Journal.

-Bizcommunity; Primedia Podcast