Retail in Asia

In Trends

Panasonic’s new checkout machines scan and bag items by themselves


Can it still be considered self-checkout if the shopper doesn’t have to do a thing during the process? Yet another retail innovation aimed at expediting the checkout process scans and bags items so humans don’t have to.

Panasonic showed off new convenience-store checkout machines in Japan that use special shopping baskets that detect the products inside and calculate the bill, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The customer sets the basket in a slot that pulls the bottom of the carrier aside, and the merchandise falls into the bag underneath. Customers can pay with cash or a card, as paper money is still widely used in Japan.

SEE ALSO: Aldi has no time for self-service checkouts

“We need a good solution also for customers who wouldn’t like a completely digitalized system,” said Yasuyuki Fukui, a Panasonic business-development executive.

Panasonic worked with convenience-store chain Lawson on the system, and will be trying it out at one of the retailer’s stores next to the tech company’s headquarters in Osaka.

It “could bring a revolution to the broader retailing industry,” said Sadanobu Takemasu, chief operating officer of Lawson. “We all face a scarcity of labor.”

That being said, executives at both companies insist they don’t want to get rid of human employees completely.

“Our store is also a point of communication for neighbors, where customers can enjoy chatting with clerks,” said Takemasu.

The company’s humanless checkout comes a week after Amazon announced it would be opening a convenience store called Amazon Go with no checkout lines in Seattle next year.

(Source: Consumerist)