Shopping is going to be more of a private affair than a chance to exchange pleasantries with the cashier if tech companies have something to say about it. Supermarket baskets from Panasonic are already replacing cashiers in Japan #objectmagic
Panasonic revealed its vision for the future of shopping: a smart basket. Black and white, with an inconspicuous appearance, it could easily be taken as an ordinary basket. But in Lawson, a convenience store franchise chain in Japan, it’s capable of scanning products and bag them. All the customer has to do is pay the bill.
Regi-Robo has a built-in barcode scanner that detects the products grabbed from the shelf and keeps count of them. Once the customer has finished adding items, it can go to a special check-out area with a smart basket support. Once the basket is placed in the specified area, its bottom slides out and the groceries fall into a bag:
Meanwhile, the system prepares the receipt. The customer can get his/her items only after paying the bill.
The self-service reduces the amount of time lost by standing in lines and waiting for each item to be scanned at the way out of the store. To make it fully automatic, Panasonic and Lawson added RFIDs, electronic tags that do not need product scan.
On another continent, Amazon is pushing forward its cashier-less initiative, Amazon Go. Their service is based on an app that keeps track of the items taken from each shelf and put in a bag, eliminating the need of baskets. Customers don’t pay anything in the store, as the money is taken directly from the Amazon account.
These two will be the essence of convenient stores.