Scan all your shopping simultaneously WITHOUT taking it out of the basket: New technology is set to wipe out supermarket queues forever

Chris Pleasance
The Daily Mail

There’s no doubt automated checkouts can save time – but all it takes is one unexpected item in your bagging area to completely ruin your shopping trip.

So say hello to Reji Robo, the new system being rolled out across Japan that scans and bags all of your items for you, with no fuss or delays.

The checkout, made by Panasonic, uses tiny radio-frequency ID tags attached to each item to tally up what’s in your basket at the end of your shop.

All shoppers have to do is select what they want from the shelves and then place their basket in the bagging area, with the checkout doing the rest.

The bottom of the basket drops away as all the items are fed into a carrier bag and then passed back to you.

A screen displays each item in the basket, and give you the total price for the shop.

All that’s left to do is tap how you’d like to pay, insert cash or tap your card on the machine, and you’re free to head off.

The system is currently being rolled out at stores across Japan, with 7 Eleven being the latest company to sign up, Japanese website Nikkei Asian Review reports.

Reji Robo will appear in major stores of four Japanese chains over the next year, with the aim being to have it in all stores nationwide by the end of 2025.

Panasonic claims the technology will reduce shopping times by 10 per cent.

The tech firm also claims the system will reduce food waste, as it will keep a highly accurate record of everything bought from the store and when it is purchased.

This information can then be passed back to warehouses, helping them to place more accurate orders with suppliers.

The concept is similar to one proposed by Amazon at one of its new grocery stores in Seattle, which will be open to the public this year, according to CNBC.

Bosses say facial recognition software along with an Amazon Go app will allow shoppers to simply walk out of the store with their groceries, with a bill sent directly to their Amazon account with no need to scan.

However, the Japanese system will also accept cash – an important addition for elderly customers who may not have electronic payments already set up.

Japan convenience stores plan next generation of self-checkout

Nikkei Asian Review

TOKYO — Seven-Eleven Japan and four other major convenience store operators in the country will introduce self-checkout registers that can read the prices of items that are still in a basket, the latest effort to cope with a severe lack of manpower.

The Seven & i Holdings unit will be joined by rivals LawsonMinistop, FamilyMart shops under FamilyMart Uny Holdings and East Japan Railway‘s Newdays stores. The chain operators look to debut the system next year in large cities and reach all outlets across Japan by 2025.

The system will employ chips so that items can be tallied simultaneously, rather than the current method of self-checkout in which each item’s bar code is scanned separately.

All five operators will employ the same type of radio frequency identification tags, easing the burden on suppliers of products. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry hopes the technology will spread widely to other retail sectors such as supermarkets and drugstores. No major retailer of household items in the world has completely introduced such technology.

The RFID tags, thinner than 1mm, can be scanned by machines that likely will cost 1 million to 2 million yen ($9,216 to $18,432). Introducing the system to around 50,000 stores could spur investment of 50 billion to 100 billion yen.

These tags can hold product information such as the manufacturing date and location as well as expiration date. The information can be viewed remotely, letting producers check sales status in order to adjust production capacity and sales plans. Manufacturers could better match the demand in stores, minimizing product returns from shops and easing the workload of logistics companies. Consumers also could have online access to this product information.

The move is chiefly a means to cope with severe labor shortages in the distribution business. The ratio of job offers to job seekers for part-timers in retail was stuck at a high level of 2.8 in February. The five chain operators also are considering fully automated outlets with no staff.

As the tags currently cost 10-20 yen apiece, adoption could face a barrier at stores that handle merchandise selling for less than 100 yen. Consequently, the ministry will support technology development and the move toward mass production via subsidies and other means. The ministry will create a council for the technology this fiscal year, involving players such as convenience store operators, information technology companies, food makers and logistics businesses.


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