Hema is experimenting with self-checkouts and online ordering from the shop floor: the chain of department stores has developed a 'shelf scanner', so that customers can scan their own products and pay for them using contactless payments.
Checkout via kiosks
Hema's innovation lab is working on a mobile self-checkout service. The chain’s new 'shelf scanner', which may be integrated in the retailer's app, should make it possible to 'scan, pay and walk away', all without having to go through a checkout.
"Shopping behaviours have changed. A new generation of shoppers know exactly what they want – no waiting around": this is the explanation provided in a promotional video by Nowlab, who developed the system in collaboration with Hema. In their own words, the innovation is aimed at ‘grab and run’ shoppers who have less time to spend in the shop.
After scanning their items, customers will still have to pay at a checkout kiosk in the store. The products also have to be collected in a shopping basket; this is where the security devices on the scanned products are disabled. The underlying commercial concept is that employees spend less time at the cash desk or, in other words, fewer cash desk employees are needed.
Out of stock? Free home delivery
The shelf scanner goes even further than just enabling cashless payments. Customers do not scan the barcodes on the packaging, but the electronic price labels on the shelf, which means they can also scan products that are not in stock. These products are then delivered free-of-charge to the house the next day, according to Hema, "without you having to do anything". In this way, the tool should also help contribute to the omni-channel experience of the chain.
The system has already been tested in a Hema store in Haarlem, and this is soon to be followed up in the Hema branch of the De Koperwiek shopping centre in Capelle aan den IJssel, confirmed branch manager Diana Van Gijzen via LinkedIn. The idea is to further improve the prototype; in terms of a roll-out, this news is yet to be announced.