Belgian retailer Colruyt has mounted smart cameras above the checkouts in a supermarket in Halle (near Brussels) to automatically scan products. This allows the retailer to speed up the process by one fifth. At OKay, a chain belonging to the same retail group, self-scanning checkouts appear in stores for the first time.
Faster and ergonomic
Hanging above one of the cash registers at a supermarket near the Colruyt headquarters, a camera uses artificial intelligence to recognise 85 % of the products employees transfer from one cart to another. As a result, they no longer need to scan the bar code with a handheld scanner. This makes the checkout process 20 % faster, the retailer claims. Moreover, it is more ergonomic for the employees, who keep both hands free.
The new system, developed in-house by Colruyt Group’s ‘Smart Technics’ innovation team, is able to make the right choice when there are more bar codes on the packaging, such as for multi-packs. Fruits and vegetables, however, still have to be weighed and the hand scanner is still needed for products at the bottom of the cart – such as containers of drinks. Colruyt will equip ten cash registers in the store with the ‘easy checkout’ to test the system for a few months. After evaluation, a further implementation may follow.
Self-scan at OKay
Incidentally, this is not the only checkout innovation Colruyt Group is currently testing. In an OKay Compact convenience store in Ghent, the retailer is installing self-scanning cash registers for the first time. If this test turns out positive, ten additional stores will get such self-scanning counters this autumn, newspaper De Tijd reports.
Colruyt Group is investing in innovations that will help save costs at a time when margins are under pressure. Last year, the retailer introduced a smartphone application that helps store employees find products on the shelves easier and faster. The benefit: up to an hour and a half of time saved per store each day – only for restocking shelves!