Aldi, the German supermarket chain that has developed a cult-like following in America, is obsessed with customer service. From its store layouts to the handy yellow hook on its carts, the affordable grocer's focus on logicality extends to the checkout process, too.
Many grocery store shoppers who are used to long lines at the checkout and an employee standing as they scan items may be surprised during their first trip to Aldi. For one thing, cashiers are seated at the register during the checkout process and the reason behind it is actually data-proven: It allows them to ring up and execute each transaction faster. "Aldi says that cashiers sit at the register because, according to their testing, it allows us to ring up items faster," Jonah, an Aldi employee who works at one of its Pennsylvania locations, told Mental Floss. "We are given reports at the end of each day for our ringing statistics."
The method appears to resonate well with customers, who appreciate the quick checkout experience. "Those lines fly ... They're not messing around there," Allison Robicelli, a food writer in Baltimore who is an Aldi shopper, noted to CNN. "Once you see that kind of efficiency, it makes going to other supermarkets really annoying and really tedious."
Aldi Employees Strategize On How To Boost Their Transaction Stats
The same way pro athletes might compare batting averages, some Aldi employees share numbers and actively strategize on how to improve them. "Fellow Aldi employees, how do I bring up my boxing/ring speed?" one Reddit post asks. An alleged Aldi shift manager from the Midwest, who said their store's goal is an average of 1,200 items scanned per hour, offered a few tips. First, cashiers should work to simply guide items into the cart instead of picking up each individual item and putting it down in a specific place in the cart.
"There is somewhat of a science to this, as you don't want to be too rough and damage product," the shift manager advised. "However, 90% of customers understand we work very quickly and as long as you aren't putting bread on the bottom of the cart, you should be fine."
Another shift manager encouraged pausing the timer between orders to shave off any down time. For example, if the customer isn't finished loading items onto the belt, pausing and waiting until everything is in place can help the transaction run more smoothly.
"If your customer isn't going to be ready, even for a couple seconds, hit your 1-code right away to stop your timer," the user cautioned. "Waiting 10 [seconds] because the customer hasn't given you the next [cart] or they're asking questions or whatever is time just burned off your speed for something you can't control."
Other Ways Aldi Is Streamlining Grocery Scanning
Cashiers sitting down at the register as they scan is just one of the tactics to help improve the transaction flow, but there are a couple other Aldi checkout efficiencies designed to get customers in and out as fast as possible. First, shoppers may notice multiple large barcodes on Aldi items. These are helpful so employees don't have to position the item just right in order to scan the barcode and can instead quickly run the product past the scanner without worrying too much about its orientation.
Next, cashiers will often prompt customers to insert their debit or credit cards into the machine before the scanning process is even finished. Jonah, the Aldi employee from Pennsylvania, explained that this is yet another example of cutting down on those small time sucks in order to improve overall efficiency.
"Encouraging our customers to preinsert their card while we are ringing allows the payment process to be near instant, rather than having our customers wait for us to finish ringing and then pull out their card and insert it," he told Mental Floss.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.