Sunday, August 17, 2008

Smart self-service scales on the radar for future grocery stores

German researchers have developed new self-service scales able to automatically recognize fruit or vegetables placed on them. As says the lead scientist, 'The scales automatically recognize which fruit or vegetables are to be weighed and ask the customer to choose between only those icons that are relevant,' such as various kinds of tomatoes. These scales are equipped with a camera and an image evaluation algorithm which compares the image with other ones stored in its database. These scales are now being tested in about 300 supermarkets across Europe

I think this is cutting edge. Useful ? Certainly, yes. Profitable ? Well, I'm not sure how much grocery stores would be willing to pay for this feature. But again, I'm not a big self-service guy when it comes to grocery-shopping, primarily because most often I cannot get it to work upto satisfaction and ease. I have to call somebody. Plus, I think entire grocery shopping should be done online, although I still end up visiting the store at least every week, because we're not there yet. Also, I don't see big lines in the self service stations which means the idea still hasn't taken off big. I do see value for grocery stores to go self-service or even enforce them for their customers - saves labor, time and money.

So, I guess grocery stores still need to do a better job in selling their self-service lines rather than labored billing lines. Maybe offer a discount for a while? or some free coupons ?. On the flip side, these smart scales that are being researched on are a good idea and may make things easier for the consumers to check out faster and easier. Adoption period ? Not very near, IMO...let's see...The question is - when would you be ready to pick a grocery store over another because it has a smart self-service scale and makes checkout easier ?



Blogger Keith said...

Great post Paddu. I tend to walk towards self-service aisles, but then pull away when I remember previous annoying or bad experiences using such services. Personally, I like the idea of being able to check myself out, but I do think there needs to be a financial incentive.

9:28 PM  
Blogger Nanda said...

Interesting. Quite a lot of technology just to promote self service checkouts. As you said, will they save enough from lower labor to justify investing in this? Maybe in the long run. Sadly it also means loss of more jobs. So, I am sure it is much much further away from adoption in India for sure. :)

12:35 AM  

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