A sale season would mean hundreds rushing into retail outlets to buy products. With each departmental store having an average of three cashiers, it would often be a serpentine queue to buy a product. However, a noticeable trend over the past four to five years is that, on one hand, the number of people queuing up is going down while hand-held devices are being used to checkout instantly on the other.

At a recent trip to a large supermarket in Mumbai, this Moneycontrol reporter found that it wasn’t necessary to queue up at the cashier. All products could be scanned using an app and the bill could be paid using a credit or debit card. Over the past few months, the number of people availing this facility has been substantially higher than those waiting to get it billed.

India has about 14 million retail outlets. If each store has a minimum of three cashiers, that makes it 42 million jobs. E-commerce has taken the same stores online and has reduced the multiple trips made to stores to buy basic products.

Even grocery stores have gone online through their own mobile applications. Hence, the need to hire multiple cashiers has also gone down. The perception earlier was that older people were not comfortable with technology. However, that is no longer the case.

Though these are still early days and it could still be years before all cashiers are replaced by digital payment solutions, the change has definitely begun in India.

One way to help revive their careers for cashiers would be to upskill and take up roles like payment management or payment assistance. The basic keying-in details for bill settlement would no longer be in vogue.

Similarly, with disposable incomes going up, the trend of personal shoppers is also going up. Cashiers, who are no longer required in the mundane roles, can take up this post after appropriate training.

The biggest mistake that one tends to make is to wait till the axe is ready to fall on their heads. It is better to upskill, reskill and prepare for newer jobs because the penetration of digital technology is only going deeper. The paucity of time has made shoppers rush to quicker checkout options.


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