Self-Service Checkout for Electronic Retailer
Too Good to Eat
It's not just food retailers who are testing self-service scanners: some of Europe's largest consumer electronic retailers, including Germany's Saturn, have been trialling self-service checkout systems from Wincor Nixdorf.
The picture of optimised checkout operations – in both food and non-food retailing – is getting sharper by the day. By 2010, it will be a mix of traditional personnel-assisted POS systems, quick-checkouts and self-scanner terminals. It will include interesting alternatives, such as the physical separation of scanning and payment processes with standalone payment terminals in a move to further speed up the checkout processes.
In the food area, for instance, German supermarket chain Edeka has already introduced this mix. At a store in Unterhaching near Munich, store manager Peter Simmel is currently testing various combinations of systems and examining how these can be tailored to meet his store’s special requirements.
The successful tests in food retailing have also attracted retailers in other sectors. For instance, Wincor Nixdorf has deployed self-checkout technology in two French retailers, a do-it-yourself chain and the sporting goods retailer Decathlon. “In principle, self-checkout systems are suitable for all types of retail companies already using self-service technology in areas such as do-it-yourself, consumer electronics, over-the-counter drugs, sporting goods and furniture,” says Wincor Nixdorf marketing director Joachim Pinhammer.
Consumer electronics retailers are a particularly good fit for advanced self-service systems. Consumers of technical products tend to be technically inclined, and as such are more likely to use modern self-checkout systems. That’s been the experience of the Saturn consumer electronics chain. Since mid-May, Germany’s largest retailer of consumer electronics products has been testing four Wincor Nixdorf self-service terminals in its 4,000 square foot store in Ingolstadt. The ‘Scan&Bag’ terminals have replaced two of the eight attended POS systems.
“After the first few days of operation, we noticed that customers who are typically interested in technical innovations readily accepted this new payment alternative,” says Werner Endres, IT and Organizational Director at Saturn. Customers use the new self-checkout systems mostly for smaller volumes of products and less for items that require some assistance, according to Endres. And with an integrated hand scanner, they can scan larger articles as well, such as printers and flat-screen monitors.
The terminals are controlled by the TPiSCAN software, which has been modified to run on Saturn’s own POS systems. With TPiSCAN, Wincor Nixdorf has developed a highly flexible modular software architecture that is able to easily connect individual systems and combine their individual functions. Software integration, which is often one of the largest hurdles in installing a self-service system, was no problem at Saturn. “The systems functioned error-free from the very start,” notes Endres.
The flexible, easy-to-integrate hardware and software solutions from Wincor Nixdorf are thus finding their way into new areas beyond food retailing, especially when combined with supporting services. Wincor Nixdorf offers not only hardware and software products but also complete solutions for checkout optimisation.
Wincor Nixdorf designs the optimal combination between traditional checkout and automated self-service systems, based on an analysis of customer frequency, average shopping purchases, level of cashless payments, demographic and social customer profile, and finally the product assortment and size of the store. Taking this data, the company then makes concrete recommendations for system purchases and calculates a realistic return on investment.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007