Despite some technological overhauls, grocery checkout lines continue to use traditional methods, some of which date to the 19th century.
Retail trade shows trumpet new innovations every year, but consumers are still looking for the fastest way to get out of a supermarket. Smartphone scanners, self-checkout lines and even an MRI-like tube that quickly scans a customer’s items have all been tried, but grocers find the technology often comes up short.
Grocers need to consider a technology makeover for their stores. Many of them are using the same basic technology, like conveyor belts, as they were decades ago. Even new technology inventions like self-checkout have issues that need to be addressed — such as missing or damaged bar codes that won’t scan. Grocers have a tremendous opportunity to improve the whole shopping experience for their consumers.
They’re trying, but sometimes find that technology isn’t the best way to make things quicker. Many retailers say the best way to make the lines move is good, old-fashioned people power, or efficient cashiers. And so they’ve turned to new line configurations. One major chain uses one line that feeds into numerous cashiers. It’s faster than traditional lines, says one of the chain’s executives.
Source: The Los Angeles Times, March 2012