Throw out your supermarket loyalty cards and say good bye to the dedicated checkout operator.
Datalogic, which provides data capture technology to more than a third of the world's checkouts, airports and mail sorting offices, has developed next generation scanning devices that could change the way we move through the supermarket queue.
The first of these products available is the Jade X7 portal, which allows shoppers to load their groceries onto a conveyor belt to be scanned automatically.
While resembling a CT scanner, its technology allows the shopper to place items in any orientation onto the moving check-stand belt without having to worry about attendants scanning items individually.
The items pass through these scanning arches that contain advanced imaging technology. The arches read bar codes and visually recognize items at a much higher speed than a traditional checkout configuration.
This allows high volume customers to move through more quickly, while reducing the company's customer attrition through 'checkout shrink', that is, customers giving up their shopping routine due to long queues.
Coles and Woolworths already use Datalogic's existing technology in more than 30,000 lanes across Australia.
Datalogic managing director A/NZ Tony Ignativicius told ARN a couple of major Australian players were already looking at the new technology.
"We are introducing portal scanners which are high speed image based scanners that enable an unattended check out," he said.
"These are large scanners incorporated into a lane with conveyor belts where a customer can walk up to the end, unload their trolley, and have that basket of goods go through the portal. All of the items are captured and basically it spits out a docket at that end; you pay and leave."
"The Jade X7 portal scanner is the company's key building block with throughput performance far in excess of current checkout systems.
"Datalogic is applying new technology to products and solutions that allow retailers and their system integration partners around the world to re-invent the retail checkout process," Ignativicus said.
The second big change is the development of image-based scanning technology as opposed to lasers. This reads through glass to enable loyalty cards to be read off a smartphone as the customer moves through the checkout, saving time and plastic.
Ignatavicius said the common theme was improving the customer experience through loyalty programs which target customers based on spending habits captured through loyalty cards.
Datalogic says that the other key aspect is efficiency - a lot of their customers are looking at ways to improve how quickly people get through the check out. Emerging technologies, such as smartphones can help here too.
"One of our larger customers was looking at that very topic and moving to phone-based cards.
"They said 'if I can get the customers to scan their own card without interrupting the transaction I am saving about 2 seconds per transaction'. Translated: that saves a lot of money, and pays back the technology," Ignativicius said.
"So they are installing customer facing scanners across all of their lanes and getting an ROI within 12 months because of that transaction saving."