t is the age of experimentation at the front
end, with technology galore entering the
scene in a bid to streamline the shopper
experience. But are these efforts falling on
deaf ears? Perhaps, because there’s a fine line between
helping and confusing a shopper, and innovations such
as self-checkout have notoriously frustrated both customers and associates alike with glitches, malfunctions and
Adding fuel to the fire, consumers identified “
quick-and-easy” checkout as an “absolute requirement”
for them, but they also said checkout is the top “pain
point” of the shopping trip, with 48% revealing that a
poor checkout experience would discourage them from
returning to a store, according to research from Stamford,
Conn.-based Daymon Worldwide’s 2018 Private Brands
Creating a tantalizing front end that makes the most of
the space and a queue that moves with ease is no simple
task, but WGB is here to break down some solutions and
curate some forward-thinking ideas that could make the
feat less daunting.
Self-Checkout May Soon be Obsolete
According to the Daymon research study, shoppers’ main
gripes with self-checkouts were waiting too long for attendants to show up, not enough room and difficulty looking up a fresh item. But while seven in 10 shoppers have
used self-checkout in the past year, only 11% claimed to
have used a mobile device or smartphone app to scan
items while they shopped. There are plenty of innovative
options out there to help avoid the headaches that come
with self-checkout, but many retailers appear to be lagging in adopting these useful tools.
One example of a new frontier of self-service shopping
lets customers scan as they go and pay at a kiosk, which
has been slowly entering the scene. Some retailers even
have expanded it to work with a smartphone app, as
opposed to a hand-held device.
Retailers such as Sam’s Club have taken this a step further by allowing shoppers to pay on the app and skip the
checkout line altogether through a Scan & Go program.
Conversely, Walmart, which owns Sam’s Club, gave this
option a test run and decided to discontinue it.
“This technology might be more convenient for the
What’s in Store for the Future?
shopper, but a retailer must monitor the door as custom-
ers leave,” the Daymon report warns. “This will require
extreme diligence from supermarkets, in particular, that
have multiple entry points with shoppers leaving with
high item-count baskets.”
While this solution may not have all of the kinks worked
out quite yet, easing the time spent scanning items could
be a good compromise until a better option is available.
Checkout technology on the horizon, according to the
Daymon report, includes a collaboration between IBM and
a Shell gas station that can scan an entire basket of items at
once and allows shoppers to pay with an app; a 360-degree
laser scanner that can read the barcodes of a collection of
items and allows payment through a biometric verification system based on scans of palm vein patterns, which is
being tested at a 7-Eleven in Seoul; and Alipay’s “Smile to
Pay” facial scan and mobile device verification.
Perhaps most notably, a “just throw it in the cart”
automated checkout system was showcased at the 2018
National Retail Federation Show. It uses computer vision
to identify items as they are placed in the shopping cart,
detect theft situations that can be audited by store associates, and allows shoppers to pay straight from the cart.
Can Streamline the
WGB breaks down the latest solutions and forward-thinking
ideas to make a new generation of front-end technology less
daunting and more approachable. By Rebekah Marcarelli
Shoppers who have
used a mobile device
to scan items as
they shopped in the
Source: Daymon World wide
Equipment & Design
Scan & Go
to skip the