The friendly faces behind a checkout could soon disappear because their jobs are “rife for automation”, analysts have said.
It comes as retail giants including Amazon and Tesco start to increase their number of till-free stores.
“Checkouts will definitely become a thing of the past… people want convenience,” retail investor Neil Debenham told i.
“There may be the odd anomaly in the medium term, such as with Marks & Spencer, as it targets a more mature demographic, but over time even this audience will adapt.”
READ MORE: Amazon launches fourth UK Fresh store
He predicted that checkout-free stores, where customers “just walk out” with their shopping, could become mainstream within five years.
James McLeod, vice president of tech company Faethm AI, claimed: “We could have 100 per cent no retail cashiers in operation today.
“The technology exists. It is more about human culture as to whether that will happen.”
Sainsbury’s concluded that “not all… customers are ready for a till-free store” in 2019 after a three-month trial.
Long queues are said to have formed at the helpdesk as shoppers tried to pay staff for their goods.
However, the success of Amazon Fresh, which recently unveiled its sixth till-free shop in London, suggests some have warmed to the idea.
In August, Tesco selected its High Holborn Express store for its second checkout-free site.
A representative for shop workers’ union Usdaw said: “We do not want to see jobs cut through the introduction of new technology.
“There are also real concerns about theft from stores without tills, disputes over technology errors and customer confusion on how systems work.
“All of these are currently problems with self-scan tills and can be real flashpoints for abuse of shop workers.”