A little bit about self-service cash registers, they are self-checkouts

    In recent years, new devices have entered the retail solutions market - self-service cash registers, or, as they are often called without translation, self-checkouts. This is not to say that the self-service system began with them, but it is obvious that the future of retail, including for self-checkout terminals and the like. The introduction of self-service stores (now we understand - not quite self-service!) Was very difficult - just like now - in the case of the introduction of self-checkouts, there were questions of increased losses due to theft, re-sticking of labels, etc. In this material we want to introduce you closer to the self-checkout terminals, tell us what we need for, how they are arranged and what tasks of modern retail they solve.

    What is a self-checkout from the point of view of a programmer, service engineer or just a technically oriented person? The appearance may vary depending on the functions that must be performed on the device. Consider a full-featured self-checkout, in which the buyer himself scans the barcodes on the goods, weighs unmarked fruits or vegetables with a choice of their type, selects the type of payment and the payment itself in cash, by credit card or other method provided in the store. Device variants are possible only with non-cash payment, for a different number of simultaneously filled packages (from one to six), with a conveyor, etc.

    The self-checkout includes:

    - the cash desk system unit for executing the standard front-office retailer program on it (which allows you to save on adapting all kinds of add-ons such as loyalty systems, promotions, etc.), and maybe two - the second to manage all devices with an advanced port system,

    - a touchscreen monitor for interactive interaction with the buyer,
    - acceptors (for receiving) and dispensers (for delivery) of bills and coins - with recycling (the ability to issue change to the buyer with the same bills and coins that were previously accepted from another buyer) or without it ,
    - cassette boxes for storing the above notes and coins (depending on the actual results of the trade, you can change the number and purpose of different cartridges for different notes and coins),
    - a scanner or scanner scale for scanning the product barcode,
    - control weighing in the platform for packages,
    - several "hangers" for packages - also of different designs, including the so-called "carousel",
    - a device for deactivating anti-theft tags,
    - sound and light warning system,
    - fiscal registrar - printer for printing receipts,
    - authorization terminal for servicing payment cards.

    In general, it turns out a whole hardware and software complex, all parts of which must be interconnected by at least four software - the cash program already mentioned, a control program, a graphical interface for interacting with the buyer and software, or the firmware of the authorization terminal.

    Moreover, the reliability of the resulting complex is calculated as 1- (1 - R1) * (1-R2) * (1-R3) * (1-R4) * (1-R5), where R1-R4 are the reliability of the mentioned systems, and R5 - reliability of additional mechanical parts. Looking at the formula, it becomes obvious why the world has received massive distribution (both component-wise and assembled) of solutions only from leading vendors.

    In the past few years, realizing that no buyer can scan goods faster than the cashier, retail chains are increasingly introducing a hybrid cash register and settlement node configuration. It involves quick scanning of goods at the checkout by an experienced and trained cashier, printing the “forecry” with a barcode, and the buyer (both cash and non-cash) pays for the payment using the forecaster at a special payment station.

    After that, you can use special automatic gates that only a buyer who has already paid for the goods passes.

    Thus, many tasks are solved:

    • Firstly, (the dream of any security specialist in retail!) The cashier is removed from the money supply, excluding the possibility of implementing many schemes of cheating the employer
    • Secondly, the buyer’s passage through the cashier is accelerated by eliminating time on it Receivables from customers (especially in a delayed response from the payment system)
    • third, increased reliability of control of banknotes authenticity - neither the cashier can not as a scanning device, ensure that no forgeries in banks . In addition, the cashier is simply not able to carefully check all the notes
    • Fourth, it is not necessary to use highly qualified personnel at the cash desks
    • Fifth, you can automatically track the presence or absence of money at the cash desk (even in cash and in cash) by adding exchange or collecting revenue

    Along with shops with a combination of regular cash desks Self-checkout shops appeared, where there are no ordinary cash desks at all, the goods are scanned by personnel who do not require money management training, and customers who are at a loss to pay will certainly be helped by specialists who are designed specifically for this.

    And this does not exhaust the possibility of varying configurations. If earlier one of the essential questions was “Can I put back-to-back self-checkouts with the possibility of front-line service?”, Now it is added to it “Is it possible to turn self-checkouts into a full-fledged cash register in case of increased - day or seasonal - the flow of customers? ". And if the convenience of the front-line service is already possible to evaluate with several vendors, then the Fujitsu U-Reverse box office with a rotary platform is still a novelty. It allows for a few seconds to reorient the buyer from the aisle from the front of the self-checkout to the rear, and the cashier can begin to “unload” the accumulated queue.

    Close to the technology embodied in self-checkouts, adjacent technology is self-scanning using wearable devices. For a long time in some stores, mobile data collection terminals have been introduced, which are issued at the entrance to the self-service hall to customers participating in loyalty programs. As the trolley fills up, the buyer scans the barcodes of goods using the scanner built into the terminal, and when leaving the hall, the cashier takes this device from him, updates the information stored in it (however, this can also happen online using Wi-Fi networks) and makes cash or bank transfer with the buyer. So, now programs that can be installed not on a special terminal, but on that wearable device that almost everyone already has with them, for example, any smartphone, are becoming “fashionable." Wherein,

    For 20 years, Russian retail has followed the same path that many countries have traveled in 50-60 years, the same applies to the implementation of self-checkouts. And it would be unreasonable not to use the accumulated alien - both positive and negative - experience!

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