Eastern European retailers are starting to experiment with new types of shopping interactions. A big part of the in store, customer experience happens at the check-out desk. When a big Romanian retailer asked us to improve check out times for a better experience, we suggested a completely automated solution. It eliminates the store employee altogether and gives the customer full control.

Any in store check-out process is twofold and at each stage, we leave the customer unattended. After the shopper has finished picking up his goods, he heads to the unattended check-out desk. Here he scans his products using the embedded or cord scanners. The system generates a fiscal receipt and the customer is prompted to proceed to payment. Here he can choose between different methods of payment, cash, card and several types of coupons. If he has a fidelity card he can scan that for added discounts and benefits. After the payment process is finished the customer can pick up his goods and head out. An optional, self-invoicing stage can be implemented after payment, where the consumer can issue an invoice based on the fiscal receipt and personal or company credentials.

Surveys done after the launch of this pilot project, reported that shoppers started perceiving the retailer as an innovator. They were pleased to see new technologies and approaches being used in a traditional environment such as brick and mortar stores. This, coupled with reduced check-out times improved customer experience and happiness. Lastly, the unattended approach is a cheaper one in the long term. After the initial investment, it frees up a lot human resources to be used for other, more productive tasks. The project moved from pilot phase to full implementation in 2016.

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