Tesco sends shoppers packing with new checkout tech

Tesco sends shoppers packing with new checkout tech

Summary: With rapid scan technology from NCR and Datalogic, Tesco hopes to get customers out the door as fast as possible in a bid to keep them coming back.

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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.


Topics: Hardware, United Kingdom

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  • The trend is having customers do their own checking

    Not having to hire more associates.

    This technology being crafted made sense a decade ago. Automation is where it's at.
  • This will be a big hit

    In the US where unskilled employees are demanding government to give them pay-raises (ie: minimum wage laws) for just being able to breath.

    You want $10.00/hr for no skills? Meet your replacement. Now get out of here and learn a skill.

    I actually think this is great. MAYBE, those kids will start to learn the value of education.
  • Nice idea but...

    Will the system grind to a halt each time a reduced to clear item with a fuzzy bar code goes through?
    How will it handle non-barcoded items like lose vegetables?
    In my experience it's not the waiting time that drives you round the bend, it's the stress and frustration when the scanning technology fails and you have to try and grab the attention of the one checkout trained person who's trying to manage a dozen of these machines.
  • The out-dated law and automated check-outs...

    Tesco is one of my most trusted supermarkets in terms of shelf prices matching how much you actually pay at the checkout, one chain which I will not mention other than its the one with many years of increasing profits which has angered me so many times, raises the issue of the law what states that the checkout is the place where you clarify any pricing issues or any 2 for 1 deals that are not recognised, the issue is the machines, automation and increasing speed make it more difficult to check if the correct price has been charged and of course, when you get home and check your receipt I am just like everyone else and cannot be bothered to fight over a few pounds but for the corporate this is big bucks and what have they got to loose just an apology if someone can bothered to waste time with customer services where the customer now has to proove that theft has taken place in order to get their money back!