Saturday, June 22, 2024

Woolworths introduces accessible checkout

Woolworths has unveiled an accessible checkout, believed to be a world first, designed specifically for team members living with a physical disability.

The first groceries were scanned at the innovative checkout last week at the opening of Woolworths’ new Kellyville Grove store in Sydney.

Woolworths has utilised inclusive design principles to create the wheelchair accessible checkout from scratch in consultation with the Centre for Inclusive Design and Mills Group, adapting it to feedback from people with disability to meet their varying needs.

The checkout includes a range of features to ensure team members who use a wheelchair can comfortably and safely serve customers:

  • Adjustable height with space for a wheelchair to fit under the conveyor belt
  • A narrower conveyor belt so team members can easily reach all groceries from a seated position
  • A rotating bag transfer so that once a team member has packed a customer’s bag they simply spin the panel to rotate it towards the customer and send it down a gentle slope to the bag collection space, avoiding heaving lifting and reaching
  • A pull drawer so receipt paper can easily be refilled without reaching over, while keeping the receipt dispenser close to customers

Woolworths has developed the checkout to create new employment opportunities for people who use a wheelchair or live with other physical disabilities. The retailer has already recruited several new team members to its Kellyville Grove store and its new North Parramatta store, which will also open with an accessible checkout this week.

“We strongly believe that our team should represent the diverse community they serve, and the onus is on us to create more accessible jobs,” says Woolworths Supermarkets Managing Director Natalie Davis.

“While we’re always striving to provide opportunities for diverse team members, the reality is that until now there have been real physical barriers to people who use wheelchairs working in many retail spaces.

“We searched globally for an accessible checkout that we could bring to Australia for our team, and when we couldn’t find one out there, we were committed to creating it ourselves.

“We’re thrilled to be unveiling this new first-of-its-kind accessible checkout because we know it will also open up first-of-their-kind opportunities for wheelchair users to be part of our store checkout teams.

“We’re continuously looking to learn and challenge ourselves, to create a more inclusive workplace.”

The accessible checkouts at Kellyville Grove and North Parramatta will form part of a pilot from which Woolworths will gather feedback and consider opportunities to introduce them to additional stores to create more employment opportunities for people with disability.

Woolworths says it has filed a provisional patent application with the Australian Patents office to maintain “quality, safety and human-centred” design.

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