CVS Health Corp (NYSE:CVS)’s Automated Check-Out Stations Fail To Impress


CVS Health Corp (NYSE:CVS) appears to be troubled by the self-pay systems it installed in its stores. The drugstore operator has been seen withdrawing the self-pay kiosks from some stores as it returns to the old payment system backed by human cashiers. Retailers are embracing automated payment systems to, among other benefits, cut payroll costs and speed up checkout in stores, but problems are never far from the surface with such moves.

CVS Health Corp (NYSE:CVS) is returning to history, so to speak. The pharmacy chain is removing the stations that it installed in stores to allow customers to self-pay for purchases. Stores in Boston and other regions have been impacted by the recall of self-pay stations.

Case-by-case withdrawal

While some within the company are leaking information that withdrawal of the self-pay kiosks could be done chain-wide, the management is selling a different version. According to CVS Health’s corporate spokeswoman, the withdrawal of self-pay systems is being done in a case-by-case manner. That means that only select stores will revert to the old system of cashier-assisted checkouts.

Pain of using self-pay systems

CVS Health Corp (NYSE:CVS)’s removal of the automated checkout systems may draw mixed reactions, but using the systems mostly came up with some pain. With that in mind, the move looks commendable. If the self-pay robots didn’t misread coupons, they were registering incorrect amounts. The unconventional behavior of the automated checkout systems meant that CVS Health cashiers needed to be around to intervene in case a customer faced a problem.

Whether CVS Health will completely phase out the self-pay systems is only known to the management. However, what is clear is that the experimentation with an automated checkout system has turned out to be a miss in CVS Health’s payments technology adoption. If the company hoped to reduce the number of human cashiers in its stores in favor of robots to save on operating costs, it will have to return to the drawing board.

How much the flip-flop in self-pay systems will disrupt CVS Health Corp (NYSE:CVS)’s business is a different narrative.

Neha Gupta

Neha Gupta has been in the financial space for over six years now. Gupta earned her MBA degree from Symbiosis Centre of Distance Learning in 2009 and her passion for finance led her to pursue Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) course. She has successfully completed Level II of her CFA. She is a veteran in article writing, which is depicted in her numerous pieces published on SeekingAlpha, Nextiphonenews, InsiderMonkey, MarketWatch, and Techinsider. Her crisp and eloquent writing finds its best place in Researchcows, where emphasis is given on developing rich content for various websites, products, business plans, trainings, and book writing.

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