Aldi US is Testing Self-Checkout

Aldi checkouts are pretty legendary. They’re fast … so fast, in fact, that some people hate how fast they are. This isn’t just anecdote, either: Aldi consistently ranks high for its checkout speed. Aldi workers are trained for speed, and they’re helped by the fact that Aldi usually puts bar codes on several sides of a package to make it easier to scan.

To date, Aldi has used an entirely employee-driven checkout process. This is different from many grocers and retailers that have, in recent years, rolled out self-checkout. Self-checkout is a polarizing subject: some shoppers like them, especially for small purchases, while others complain that they don’t work as well or are being used to phase out paid workers.

I’ve long wondered if Aldi would ever experiment with self-checkout. After all, Aldi has been willing to experiment in other areas, including grocery delivery and curbside pickup.

I don’t have to wonder any longer.

The Aldi self-checkout experiment has officially come to America.

An Aldi self-checkout in Stow, Ohio. (Credit: Michelle R. Wiesen)

This picture comes courtesy of a shopper in northeast Ohio, just minutes from Akron and less than an hour from Cleveland. It was taken on May 19, 2021, which was, according to the shopper, the first day Aldi started using the checkout stations. The shopper told us that there were a few stations running and she was excited to see them.

I think it could be better served and faster for very busy times,” she said, “especially when you have lines down the aisle, and only have a couple items.”

Aldi US has been pretty quiet about this rollout. I haven’t seen any public announcements by the company anywhere, which leads me to think this is something the grocer isn’t going to make a lot of fanfare about. It is also likely a pilot project at this point, to see how well they work. Aldi is a company focused on efficiency, so the grocer will likely look to see if self-checkout helps keep things moving in the exits. If it does, expect to see more of them in stores, although it could take a long time to see them throughout the United States.

This may be part of a larger international strategy by the grocer. Aldi UK has placed self-checkout in a handful of its stores over the last two years, and Aldi Australia has just launched its own self-checkout trials in the last few weeks.

Time will tell what the future holds for self-checkout lanes at Aldi. We’ll be watching with interest.

About Joshua

Joshua is the Co-founder of Aldi Reviewer. He is also a writer and novelist. You can learn more about him at www.joshuaajohnston.com.

12 Comments

  1. I’m generally impressed by how competent and remarkably pleasant Aldi cashiers are. Unless Aldi were to have a significant bank of automatic checkouts, I would dread the plodding and fumbling that most people display when scanning their own groceries. I hope this idea doesn’t catch on.

  2. If a self checkout is put into the stores, there should be a strict amount of items that can be checked out! 10 items or less would be ideal! If I have 3 or 4 items, I would hate to have to wait for someone with a full cart, they should be required to go the regular checkout with the “fast cashiers”!

    • Agree! I always let someone go ahead of me if they have 3 or 4 items. If I have a cart full, I would prefer to use the super-speedy cashier checkout. Just a quick run for a few items, I would not mind using the self-checkout.

  3. The article comments that cashier’s are trained to be fast is bad. I have experienced, many times, that the cashier is trying to be fast and just throws items into the awaiting cart. Dented cans, crumbled cookies, crushed chips and broken open packaging is just not acceptable. I have often wondered if the savings is worth shopping at Aldi.

    • I place the heavier items on the counter first, leaving bread, produce, chips last. Works for me. I haven’t had any problems.

  4. I wonder how many cashier’s this will put out of work. I don’t like the self check outs…they take jobs away and they aren’t friendly and I’ve never seen one smile back.

  5. Obvious that Aldi checkers are trained as if they are in a race. I carefully pick my bananas and other produce only to have it thrown in the cart at the other end and coming home bruised. I once had a checker put an apple pie in the cart SIDEWAYS. Can you imagine? PIE!
    I usually put my stuff on the counter and run to the other end to catch everything before it is thrown into the cart. Hate that. At Aldi, I think self checking is a good thing because of the lack of care of the purchased items.

  6. Really appreciate the checkout process at Aldi’s. Am not a fan of the self checkout, as I’m not gifted in finding the code, getting it scanned, and into the right bag, and dislike getting reprimanded by a machine :-} !

  7. 'Ron' Hugh Thorne

    Not a fan. I will not shop a store that is primarily self-checkout.

  8. Oh i hope it doesnt catch on. The whole reason they stood out initially was by being DIFFERENT than other stores-not the same. No one mentioned here that having me have to check out and bag my own groceries is making me ‘work’ for them for free(while costing someone else a job)..not to mention elderly and sick people who really have a time being forced to do this to buy their food is wrong. It seems they are forgetting the idea of offering service to customers..as if doing something for us doesnt enter the equation–just how do they “make a buck”. Perhaps you can “make a buck and more” if you remember to have customer service.

  9. Will not use self checkout!

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