Australians are roasting Kmart after the budget retailer announced a trial in one of its stores that could finally see the end of a feature many consumers loathe.
The discount superstore first began moving its cash registers from the entrance into the middle of stores back in 2012. By 2018, almost every store in the country had the layout, with many shoppers labelling the move “confusing” and “dumb”.
After years of complaints, Kmart appears to be considering moving checkouts back to their original location after confirming it was trialling cash registers at the exit at the Eastland store in Melbourne.
The apparent backflip hasn’t gone unnoticed by shoppers, who despite being delighted store layouts might change back, have decided to unleash on Kmart.
A video shared by a shopper showing off the “Kmart store of the future” has been bombarded with sarcastic comments, many clearly frustrated the Australian retailer has taken this long to listen to shoppers’ needs.
“Absolutely genius! Who would have thought?!” one user lamented.
“This is how it was all the time… never should have changed,” another scoffed.
As one raged: “That’s where they used to be – but with PEOPLE serving!!!!”
“OMG. Revolutionary,” someone else mused.
In the clip, shared by user @ourlifeinmelbourne, the self-service tills could be seen immediately to the left of the entrance as shoppers entered the store.
“OMG! Kmart are doing a ‘test and learn’ at Eastland and have moved the registers to the front of the store!!” the TikTok user captioned the video.
“Hopefully this works and they remove that terrible middle aisle.”
Many agreed with the original poster, stating it “makes zero sense” to have the checkouts located in the current central location.
“I really hope they do this in every store. I HATE the middle checkout,” one stated.
“So trialling back to how they used to be??” someone else questioned.
Meanwhile one user pointed out: “You mean bringing the registers back to the front of the store like they used to be 10 years ago?”
“All us dinosaurs cracking up at this ‘new’ idea,” another added.
Kmart announced the trial to news.com.au on Friday, stating it was part of “a range of new store elements” being trialled in the next 12 months at Eastland.
“As a business, we are always looking for ways to make our customer experience better, so trying out new things is just part of what we do,” the spokesperson said.
“As always, we have a number of trials taking place involving lots of new ideas so we can see what our customers think. As these are rolled out, we look forward to hearing our customers’ feedback, so we can continue to adapt and improve.”
However, Kmart stressed there were no plans as of yet to implement the change at other stores across the country.
One of the key points of contention surrounding the controversial store layout lies in the additional security measures Kmart has implemented to ensure shoppers aren’t stealing at the self-service registers.
After paying for goods and walking through the store to the exit, bags are regularly checked by a Kmart employee, with shoppers also having to provide receipts.
Many consumers have accused Kmart of treating “every shopper like a shoplifter”, calling on the retailer to instead changed the format back.
“Dear Kmart Australia, why put the checkout area in the middle of the store if you’re going to treat every shopper like a shoplifter on the way out?” one disgruntled social media user asked recently.
“Instead of treating all your customers like criminals, there are a few things that you can do to change this,” another wrote, before suggesting the checkouts be moved, self-serve registers be ditched, and to have more staff rostered on.
At the time, a Kmart spokesperson told news.com.au the checkout decision was “made several years ago … to make shopping more convenient, ensuring store entrances are free of queues and clutter, and allowing customers to enter and exit with ease”.
“This current layout is more open and more spacious without having the registers up at the front of the store, which can get congested during busy times of the year like Christmas,” they added.
“Like many retailers it is also a condition of entry across all our stores that if requested, customers present any bags and receipt for checking before leaving the store.
“This is standard procedure that occurs regardless of how a customer makes their purchase, whether it be from our service desk, self-service checkouts or if they have been assisted by a team member. We look forward to continuing to service all our customers in the many different ways they like to shop.”