Is Your Retailers Checkout Process Marginalizing the Elderly

As we all know, time tends to fly, but sometimes, it’s nice to slow things down, especially when it comes to our seniors. For many older adults, a trip to the store isn’t just about stocking up the usuals—it’s a social outing. It’s also a venue to relax, chat with the cashier and other individuals, and feel more connected. Seniors are also in no rush, which explains that a few added seconds don’t make them feel frustrated and, instead, make them feel more connected. This particular demographic doesn’t require self-checkout technology, and the slow checkout process can work in their favour.

Idea in Action

In 2019, a family business-operated Dutch grocery chain, Jumbo, implemented the “slow checkout lane” for their senior populations. They called this a “Kletskassa,” or “chat checkout,” which was implemented in a total of 700 locations across the Netherlands. The main idea for this execution was to allow seniors to fight loneliness and instead connect with fellow shoppers. To encourage social interaction, the grocery chain also added a “chat corner” where locals can meet up for a cup of coffee and chat away. The best thing is that the slow checkout lane is not just exclusive to seniors but open to everyone.

Implementation in Canada

According to the Canadian Institute of Health Information, in 2017, it sits at about 6.2 million. Thirteen years from now, in 2037, it is expected to number 10.4 million for the senior population. A large population of older Canadians live in provinces like Quebec, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia. Most of these individuals like to live in small, connected towns, while most may not.

Grocery stores and retailers can target specific locations in specific provinces to execute this idea. This ideal, if well-received, can be established as a habit and daily routine amongst seniors, which can, in turn, lead to an increase in sales. In short, slow checkout lanes are a relatively simple yet cost-effective idea. Introducing this concept is particularly appealing as it requires minimal resources and can be implemented without any upfront investment. At most, this would involve some staff training and establishing a well-thought-out system to be followed.


In October 2021, the company conducted its first chat checkout experiment, which received highly positive feedback. As a result, Jumbo has decided to introduce chat checkouts in 700 locations, with plans to open over 200 stores by the end of 2024. Jumbo is highly positive and optimistic about this idea and its potential for growth.

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