Speed is perhaps second to security at the retail point-of-sale, as retailers continue to deploy checkout technology that cuts down wait times in a bid to keep shoppers happy.
UK retail giant Tesco is no stranger to retail technology experimentation. Over the last two years the company has trialed in-store kiosks with chip-and-PIN payment, magic mirrors, virtual assistants and now, a high-speed checkout unit from retail and banking tech titan NCR.
The basic goal of the checkout unit is to eliminate the need for individual item scanning. Instead of having to scan each item, associates help customers unload their items onto a conveyor belt that scans items automatically and then directs each basket to separate stations, allowing up to three customers to pack and pay on each machine at one time. Imaging technology from Datalogic scans item barcodes without physical handling, allowing the checkout to scan up to 60 items per minute.
That sounds a bit like a grocery free-for-all, but NCR said a rotating turntable and re-designed collection area for scanned items maintains order and allows items to be distributed more evenly within the packing area.
Rapid scan technology is growing in popularity, both on the manufacturer end and the retailer side. NCR and fellow retail technology manufacturer Wincor Nixdorf have focused heavily on checkout speed with their latest hardware rollouts.
For Tesco, the UK's largest retailer has remained entrenched in its omnichannel mission. Earlier this month the company announced plans to launch its own smartphone, and Monday rolled out contactless payment to 500 stores across London.
Ronen Levkovich, EMEA VP for NCR Retail, said in a statement:
Great customer service is one of the cornerstones of today's highly competitive UK retail industry and supermarkets, such as Tesco, must differentiate themselves to attract and retain shoppers. As consumers increasingly expect a better experience, incorporating innovative software and hardware becomes increasingly important.