Wincor Nixdorf High Speed Checkout with 360 Scanners.

360 Scanners Revolutionize Checkout With High-Speed Automatic Scanning

360 Scanner from Wincor NixdorfFor many people, grocery shopping is a dreaded chore. It means having to make a list, fight traffic, snag a parking spot, bump your way through a labyrinth of aisles, shoppers, and shopping carts and sort through thousands of products, brands, and prices in order to collect your necessities and hopefully stay within your budget. By the time you are ready to check out and pay, having to choose between a long line of overflowing carts and a persnickety old self-checkout machine might be enough to make you cry.

Here at The BarCode News, we are always on the lookout for new technology that will improve the shopping experience for customers, and increase efficiency for business owners. Once in a while, something comes along that seems revolutionary. 360 scanners for checkout lines indeed fits that category.

Imagine, instead of a cashier having to handle every item in your cart, or you having to play spin the bottle with your ketchup at the self-checkout, you simply place your items on a conveyor belt where they are automatically scanned by the time they get to the bagging station. This is possible with 360 scanners.

As the name denotes, 360 scanners are capable of scanning a product bar code from 360 degrees, so it does not matter how the item is placed on the conveyor belt. The machines perform automatic scanning on multiple bar codes at a time, processing items at a speed twice as fast as traditional scanners (up to 60 items per minute), with 98 percent accuracy. If an faulty bar code cannot be scanned or an item requires age-verification, then the 360 scanner snaps a picture of the item and displays it to the checkout attendant for quick resolution.

Both Wincor Nixdorf Inc. and Fujitsu have introduced 360 scanners for use in grocery and high-volume retail environments.360 Scanner from Wincor Nixdorf

Wincor Nixdorf developed the 360 Scan portal as part of their advanced Automated Checkout Suite, with the partnership ofDatalogic Scanning andRoyston LLC. Wincor’s 360 Scan portal is built with the new 360-degree automatic scanning technology, to speed up checkout lines, improve the customer experience as well as increase operational efficiency.

The software is flexible so that the 360 Scan Portal can be used either as a self-checkout or with an attendant during high-traffic hours. Since the attendant does not have to scan the items, he or she can simply bag up the groceries so that the customer is ready to pay and go by the time the cart is unloaded. The system is so efficient that it can allow one attendant to serve two lines at a time. It is also customizable for different retail environments and multiple payment methods.

Fujitsu also introduced a 360 scanner at last year’s NRF. Fujitsu’s 360 scanner also boasts 98+% scanning accuracy and the ability to manage faulty bar codes and restricted items with ease.

The Advantage Checkout 360 scanner enhances the customer checkout experience and potentially reduces the number of checkout lanes, allowing staff to move to other valuable activities. The checkout system’s Metrologic scanner/scale functions with six-sided, 360° scanning and integrated electronic article surveillance (EAS).

Watch this video from Wincor to see how the 360 scanner works:

www.wincor-nixdorf.com/usa.

http://solutions.us.fujitsu.com

(Images courtesy of Wincor Nixdorf Inc.)

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Build Your own Facebook Store

Shopping search engine Sortprice.com expanded its merchant store application on the Facebook Platform to help retailers expand their e-commerce capabilities that can be used by the social network’s audience.

The free application, available to any Sortprice.com enhanced merchant with an existing Facebook account, works hand-in-hand with their product listing on Sortprice itself and allows them to build a virtual store right on Facebook. Merchants can have their full inventory available to Facebook users for shoppers to peruse and compare prices on, complete with photos and direct links to their own Web sites, according to Sortprice.

The tools give retailers complete control over the ‘look and feel’ of their stores, with dozens of choices for color schemes, an option to upload category images, and the ability to add a slogan to their page as well. Sortprice also included an extensive FAQ section to guide merchants through the process of configuring their stores while offering tips for promoting the application to internal and external audiences.

On the user side, Sortprice’s unique Drag & Drop feature for the merchant pages is now compatible across all web browsers, facilitating each user’s visit. Shoppers can now quickly and easily compile a “wish list” of desired items from a particular merchant’s store. These lists are viewable to all users and are the foundation for a truly interactive shopping experience. Visitors can comment on other users’ wish lists, indicate particular items that they “like”, and even invite friends and family to check out wish lists or specific products.

To learn more about the Facebook store application, visit http://www.sortprice.com/facebook_store

Waitrose scraps delivery charges.

The upmarket supermarket chain is abolishing the charges, which total £3 between Monday and Wednesday and £5 for the remainder of the week, as it tries to accelerate online growth that is currently running at 60pc.

“We want to ramp up the volumes,” said Mark Price, managing director of Waitrose. “Delivery charges are a real irritation for customers when they’re spending £90 on a shop.”

Britain’s worst recession in more than two decades has heaped pressure on supermarket chains to pitch their pricing strategies correctly as customers tighten their belts.

Waitrose, with 200 branches across the UK, has benefited as people eat out less, according to Mr Price. The chain, which recorded a 6pc jump in sales over Easter compared with last year, said it was winning customers from rivals such as J Sainsbury.

Owned by The John Lewis Partnership, Waitrose is betting that its move will help prise shoppers away from rivals in the online grocery market, which it claims will enjoy sales of £13bn within four years.

The charges will cease from Wednesday although the Waitrose Deliver service will still require a minimum order of £50. Waitrose Entertaining, its service for party food and drink, does not have a minimum order requirement.

The decision to scrap the charges comes in the same week that shoppers at online delivery service Ocado will be able to buy Waitrose food cheaper online than from the supermarket for the first time.

John Lewis Partnership has a stake in Ocado but does not fully own it, so the internet delivery company is able to charge what it likes for Waitrose products.

Mr Price has said there are many promotions that Waitrose runs in store that Ocado does not offer. The free delivery is not being offered by Ocado.

Mr Price said trading in the first three months had been better than expected and he was in the optimists camp regarding the rest of 2009.

US switching off online grocery shopping

Many of the trends we see in the UK market first take place in the US and then jump across the pond, but in the case of grocery home deliveries there is a major divergence between the two markets.

While online grocery shopping continues to grow at a rapid pace in the UK, it appears to be a different story across the Atlantic. In the past week the competitive UK market has digested the news that Waitrose is scrapping its delivery charges and Ocado is to sell 4,000 Waitrose own-label products at a cheaper price than is available in the grocer’s own stores.

The former is bound to have repercussions, as the other major grocers take a close look at their delivery-charging models, and although the latter will have less impact on the wider market it does signify how desperate Ocado is to grow its share of business.

In contrast, in the US, Albertsons announced that it is to stop its home delivery for online orders in all its markets. The only thing it is retaining in certain areas is online ordering for collection in-store, which it says customers regard as a convenient way to shop.

The divergence in the two markets must largely be down to the high density of delivery drops achievable in the UK whereas the vast distances between shoppers in the US does not justify the cost to retailers of offering home delivery services for low margin grocery products. This is undoubtedly why it is still viable in higher density conurbations like New York where FreshDirect is a popular service.

This is at the heart of why Tesco is the world’s biggest online grocer and the significantly larger US market has nothing that comes close to comparing with it.

Wireless LAN powers supermarket of the future

SAN JOSE, Calif.—In a warehouse demo facility at its headquarters here, startup Altierre Corp. maintains a mock supermarket that could easily be mistaken for the real thing.

The facility is complete with shopping carts, aisles stocked with goods, and Altierre’s flagship product—a wireless LAN based on a system of RF tags, LCD displays, servers, access points and wireless stations, which controls and updates prices for each item.

Replacing the low-tech paper display tags used by grocery stores to display prices and marketing messages with electronic shelf labels may seem at first glance like an unnecessary—and expensive—application of technology. But Altierre executives say supermarkets and other large retail operations invest thousands of man hours in the inefficient process of manually replacing paper tags on store shelves to reflect updated prices. Continue reading

Japan shoppers grab lucky New Year bags amid gloom

TOKYO (Reuters) – Forget the recession, at least for now in Japan, where it’s time for some mystery New Year’s shopping designed to cast off the economic gloom.

Thousands of shoppers queued for hours in front of department stores across Japan on Friday to buy limited-edition, traditional New Year’s “goodie” bags in what has become one of the biggest events of the holiday season.

The so-called Lucky Bags are priced between 10,000 yen ($110) and 30,000 yen, and are completely sealed, with nothing to indicate the contents. Continue reading

DLF to build 20 malls for Rs 16,000 crore

Buoyed by the success of organised retail in the country, real estate industry leader DLF plans to invest Rs 16,000 crore over four years to develop about 20 large shopping malls across the country.

“Going forward, shopping malls will be an area of important focus for DLF. This will help us to make the maximum leverage of the retail boom in India,” DLF Retail managing director Arvind Nair said.

He, however, did not divulge investment to be made in development of 22 million sq ft of shopping mall space. According to a company source, DLF is planning to develop around 20 large shopping malls in the next three-four years, which would entail an investment of Rs 16,000 crore.

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