Self check-out solutions have increasingly become a critical aspect of the supermarket shopping experience for consumers, with an estimated two-thirds of shoppers reporting a preference for automated technologies over interacting with a human check-out operator.
Present-day shoppers lead busy lives and are well-acquainted with interactive devices – and while they may prefer to shop at their own speed while selecting their items, they’re highly likely to avoid supermarkets with long queues, gravitating instead towards stores that allow them to navigate through check-out independently.
These trends in the supermarket industry make self check-out systems essential to running a viable operation. The technology itself, however, isn’t without its drawbacks. Supermarket owners frequently express concerns that their consumers find the process of purchasing products at self check-out to be cumbersome, time-consuming, and prone to error. Many systems on the market today have limited parameters that can cause frustration for shoppers and also lead to incorrectly identified items and loss of stock. Stores with check-out stations that function poorly also risk a drop in customer loyalty and interruptions to business.
The Magellan 9800i TDi (Top Down imager) technology is a new solution to the issue designed with self check-out in mind. The device is the latest offering from Italy-headquartered Datalogic Group, widely considered a global leader in automatic data capture and industrial automation markets – a firm that employs 2800 staff globally and currently distributes to 27 countries.
According to Datalogic’s product marketing manager Ken Decker, the business is a world-class producer of bar code readers, mobile computers, sensors for detection, measurement & safety, vision systems and laser marking systems – and offers innovative solutions for a full range of applications in the retail, transportation & logistics, manufacturing and healthcare industries. Datalogic’s TDi technology allows any of its Magellan 9800i range to pair with a machine-learning algorithm to make purchasing produce at self check-out faster, more reliable and easier on the customer and retailer.
“Currently the Magellan line of bi-optics is a world-leading platform for reading 1D and 2D barcodes,” explains Decker. “This new colour imager enables AI capabilities on our Magellan 9800i that go beyond the barcode into the realm of recognition and machine learning.”
Robust and easy to set up, the Magellan 9800i TDi is solidly built and uses the same rugged body and mounting connectors as the firm’s existing Top Down Reader (TDR) systems. TDR owners are able to connect the Magellan 9800i TDi and carry out a fast firmware update, bringing them back up and running with the new system within minutes.
The Magellan 9800i TDi uses a colour imager with AI to ensure fruits and vegetables are quickly and easily recognised during self check-out, resolving several significant shortcomings of existing devices. With most solutions on the market today, customers must either know a PLU code for the fruits, vegetables or other produce they’re buying, or otherwise browse a catalogue to locate the correct item in order to purchase products via self check-out. When linked up to a machine learning algorithm, the TDi allows customers to simply place the items on the platter – and within less than a second, the algorithm will return a result that is then displayed on the screen. Generally, this comes in the form of the top four items recommended by the algorithm. Narrowing down the customer choices in this way ensures a faster and less frustrating check-out experience.
“The TDi was developed with the grocery retailer in mind,” says Decker. “We built upon the already proven rugged form-factor of our existing TDR (Top Down Reader) to ensure years of trouble-free service. The TDi/TDR mount points provide the camera with an excellent view of the platter while keeping it out of the flow of products. Additionally, the camera mount point ensures that no matter what SCO system the retailer uses, they will maintain a consistent view of the platter for their produce-identification applications.”
As an integrated, customer-facing mobile device reader, the Magellan enables retailers to easily engage in mobile commerce, eliminating the need for an additional scanner, power supply outlet, interface cable, POS port or mounting hardware. Even in situations where check-out is performed by an employee, customers are able to scan barcodes from their mobile phone screen or paper coupons while the cashier continues to scan regular items in parallel – resulting in a significant reduction in total transaction time.
Retailers adopting the Magellan system will be on the leading edge in terms of contemporary self check-out systems, with the TDi having just been released at the end of last year to a growing number of supermarket owners who are now discovering how the TDi augments their existing technologies.
For more information about the Magellan 9800i TDi, click here or contact Ken at Ken.Decker@datalogic.com.