Checkout revamp: is this the end for “unexpected item in the bagging area”?

Tesco is revamping its self-service checkout machines in a move that will bring to an end the dreaded “unexpected item in the bagging area” phrase.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 3rd August 2015, 5:47 pm
A shopper users a self-service checkout at a Tesco store. Credit: Tesco
A shopper users a self-service checkout at a Tesco store. Credit: Tesco

Following feedback from customers, the supermarket giant said it is rolling out a new audio voice to machines that will be “friendlier, more helpful and less talkative.”

Tesco conceded that its current system had “become a source of frustration” for customers, with some describing it as “shouty”, “irritating”, and putting them under pressure as they finish their shop.

The new system aims to ease those frustrations by offering softer phrases and being more customer-friendly.

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As well as changing “unexpected item in the bagging area”, six unhelpful phrases including “please take your items” have been removed and “thank you for shopping at Tesco” has been added.

The system has already been rolled out to a small number of stores. It will be introduced in all of Tesco’s UK stores by the end of October.

James Dewen, self service checkout operations manager at Tesco said: “Customers really like the convenience of our self-service checkouts, especially when they’re just popping into store to pick up lunch or a few items after work. But for some, the voice leaves them a bit frustrated.”

“It’s listened to by millions of customers every week, so we’ve acted on customer and colleague feedback and worked hard to get the new voice right to improve the shopping trip.”

Tesco first introduced self service machines in 2003, and currently has more than 12,000 in operation.