'I have no doubt in the next 10 years, customers will be able to take the product off the shelf, put it in their basket, walk out and have it all paid for,' the executive told the Sydney Morning Herald.
Adds a Coles spokesperson: 'We’ve seen technology transform the shopping experience over the past 10 years to make it more convenient and tailored to individual needs.
'Coles first introduced self-serve checkouts 16 years ago, and around half of all sales are still made by Coles team members scanning customers’ groceries at belted checkouts.
'We have trialled a number of new technologies to help our customers complete their shopping faster, however there are no plans to phase out the belted checkouts which remain a key part of our store offer.'
Reports of checkout-free supermarket shopping down the track has already attracted a mixed response from some customers.
‘I’m just worried what this means for jobs,’ said one Facebook user. ‘There are already less workers at supermarkets on the checkouts because of self checkout, if checkouts are gone altogether then that surely means more jobs gone.’
Said another: ‘Unfortunately the idiots who make these decisions don't do the weekly shop and have no idea how cr@p the experience is for customers. Poor ergonomic set up, constant errors. I'll limit my purchases if I have to check myself out just to reduce the aggravation.’
Added a third: ‘What about the customers who count on human interaction? There are a lot of lonely and elderly shoppers out there who saw heading to the supermarket and having a chat to the cashier as highlight of their day.’
Said one more: ‘If they are checkout free, I will shop and pay more where there is checkouts, IGA or a smaller independent shop. They are forgetting about customer service and just worrying about profit.’
But not everyone dislikes the idea.
‘Less time in supermarkets is something I can definitely get onboard with,’ said another.