The trend of self-checkouts is fast catching in India. Here’s a look at how Reliance Retail’s Freshpik and Yousta have implemented the technology
In India, supermarket chains were the early adopters for self-checkouts. Leading the way was HyperCity way back in 2017. The other prominent names who offered this service before the onset of Covid19 were Decathlon, BigBazaar, SunnyBee in Chennai, Myntra’s Roadster Go etc. When we take a look at the current retail landscape in India, the big names like Reliance Retail, Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail, Decathlon etc. have adopted the self checkout feature at their stores and going by the dynamics, a many others are going to follow suit.
Clearly, leading the way in the implementation of self checkouts in India would be the brand stores from the house of Reliance Retail Limited. The spokesperson of two of their brands – FreshPik and Yousta shares the dynamics of self checkouts in India and its adoption at their respective stores.
Reliance Retail Limited’s FreshPik stores have enabled self checkout feature for their patrons and according to the spokesperson for the brand, the primary reason for this was to facilitate efficiency and speed, considering self-checkout systems can expedite the payment process, allowing customers to scan and pay for their items quickly, reducing the time spent waiting in line.
“Labour cost reduction is another benefit with self-checkout as fewer staff members are needed for traditional checkout lanes. This can lead to cost savings on wages and allow staff to focus on other customer service tasks,” the spokesperson said.
Also, some customers prefer the convenience of self-checkout, as it provides them with more control over their shopping experience.
“Additionally, self checkouts help during peak hours as traditional checkout lines can become congested. Self-checkout systems provide an additional avenue for customers to complete their purchases, reducing congestion,” the spokesperson added. Another very interesting point highlighted by the spokesperson on the beneȱ ts that self-checkouts bring to the business is related to scalability, where as the retail business grows, adding more self-checkout kiosks is relatively straightforward compared to expanding traditional cashier lanes.
In addition, self-checkout systems can gather valuable data about customer purchasing behavior, helping businesses make informed decisions about inventory management, pricing, and promotions. There is also the added advantage of reduced errors wherein automated scanning and payment processes can minimize errors that might occur during
manual transactions, improving transaction accuracy.
FreshPik’s Self-checkout Technology Infrastructure
The self-checkout kiosks at FreshPik are equipped with barcode scanners that allow customers to scan the barcodes on their items. These scanners are designed to quickly and accurately read barcodes to identify products.
Then there is touchscreen interface where this kiosk features a user-friendly touchscreen interface that guides customers through the checkout process. It displays scanned items, their prices, and prompts customers for actions like adding items, adjusting quantities, and completing payment. As for payment processing, the self-checkout systems support various payment methods, including credit/debit cards, mobile wallets, and possibly cash. The system securely processes payment information and completes the transaction. The security cameras are strategically placed to monitor the self-checkout area. These cameras help deter theft and provide a record of transactions for security purposes. Lastly, the system is integrated with the inventory system which implies that it is connected to the store’s inventory management system thus ensuring accurate tracking of product sales that helps maintain up-to-date stock levels.
Assistance for Check-outs
There is on-site assistance extended where trained staff members are stationed near the self-checkout area to provide immediate assistance to customers who have questions or encounter difficulties.
These staff members can guide customers through the process, demonstrate how to scan items, and offer help with payment. Clear and concise instructions are displayed on or around the self-checkout kiosks and there is also prominent signage throughout the store informing customers about the availability of self-checkout and encouraging them to ask for help if needed. This can help reduce any apprehension about trying the new technology.
Ensuring Data Privacy and Security
At FreshPik the team ensures customer data protection through:
- Encryption for data transmission.
- Secure payment gateways and tokenization.
- Regular security audits and compliance.
- User authentication and strong network security.
- Data minimization and physical kiosk security.
- Employee training and privacy policies.
- Incident response plans and updates for security.
At Yousta the target audience is young consumers between 16 to 24 years of age, who are tech savvy, who prefer a hands-on approach, and are comfortable managing billing on their own. Time is of essence to them, and hence self- checkout is best suited for them as it cuts the billing queue wait time.
Two modes of self-checkout are present at Reliance Retail’s Yousta store–Kiosk based checkout and a mobile-based checkout. Kiosk based is a simple process of Drop-pay-bag. A customer drops the chosen items into the RFID enabled trays, pays via an Electronic Data Capture (EDC) machine and bags the purchases. Mobile checkout is a Scan, pay and bag method. In this mode, the customer scans a QR code to activate a bar code scanning on his/her smartphone, fills the cart, pays for it from the same device and then items are de-tagged and bagged.
Citing the benefits self-checkout would bring to their customers, the spokesperson from Yousta shared “Self-checkouts are tech driven systems designed to streamline the checkout process, enhance customer convenience, and reduce labour costs for retailers. Self checkout kiosks can potentially allow stores to remain open longer since they may require fewer staff members during off-peak hours.” Customers can scan and pay for their purchases at their own pace, reducing waiting times.
Technology Infrastructure at Yousta
Self-checkout kiosks have radio frequency identification (RFID) encoders and scanners. The RFID-enabled kiosks can identify each item as it gets added to the purchase tray, recognising it with all its encoded information and thus making it a seamless shopping experience. Customers can bill all products being purchased without staff intervention. “There is a 100% success rate for product identification,” he explained.
Pointing out on the acceptance of self checkouts by customers at Yousta stores, the spokesperson added, “There is an encouraging response, as the Self-checkouts are widely accepted by customers. A high rate of adoption was witnessed in the first week of operations itself.
Many customers have called out their pleasant surprise to see such a system deployed in our stores, comparing it favourably to their international shopping experiences. All Yousta stores will launch with the self-checkout systems as we expand. It is an integral offering of the brand concept.”
The article was first published in the September issue of IMAGES Retail magazine. Get a copy of the issue here.