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Edeka Südwest trials Smart Shopper from KBST

Edeka regional co-operative Südwest is testing an alternative way of self-scanning at its E-Center in the city of Gundelfingen. Under the name Smart Shopper, the store provides 20 shopping trolleys equipped with a display and hand scanner. With this, customers register their purchases directly at the shelf. The tablet-sized display gives them comprehensive information about the products and transparency about the total amount of the purchase. At the checkout, customers do not need to place items on the checkout belt. They can put them in the shopping bag while shopping. Sensors check whether all items have been registered. They can then pay at one of the attended checkouts or cashless at a self-checkout terminal.

Edeka Südwest does not want to name the manufacturer of the Smart Shopper. However, it is apparently the Scanbox from the start-up company KBST in Kaufungen, which has also been in use at the Edeka retailer Aschoff in Kassel for more than two years. In co-operation with a service provider, the IT department of Edeka Südwest has now integrated the system into the GK checkout environment and the SAP merchandise management system.

More convenient and better-informed shopping

With the system, Edeka Südwest wants to offer customers a faster and more convenient shopping experience. While customers always remain fully informed about their purchases via the large-format display, it also offers the retailer a wide range of possibilities for addressing them.

Other Edeka regions are also testing intelligent shopping trolleys in live operation. Edeka Aschoff in Kassel was the first to implement the KBST Scanbox. To check items inserted, the Scanbox has a weighing module that is built into the shopping trolley above the wheels. Using artificial intelligence, the system compares the weight of scanned items with the values stored in the master data.

Edeka Minden Hannover has opted for a smart shopping trolley from manufacturer Pentland Firth. Its Easyshopper also works with a built-in scale. It also deploys a camera. Currently, customers can use this system in about 40 Edeka stores in the region, most of them direct operations, but also some owned by independent retailers.

No more scanning in the future

According to IT project manager Daniel Wenzl, Edeka Südwest has already received a lot of positive customer feedback on the Smart Shoppers. The co-operative is already planning next steps. In future, customers will be able to do largely without scanning. A built-in camera will then register most purchases. The scanner will then only be used in exceptional cases, such as at the service counter. This solution is planned to be piloted later this year.

Even if customer response is positive, intelligent shopping trolleys will most likely not be deployed in large numbers on a wide scale. Technology is relatively complex and its costs quite high. For weekly shopping in larger stores, however, they could prove to be a useful addition to self-checkouts.

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Joachim Pinhammer

Joachim Pinhammer supports retail and technology companies with consulting and marketing expertise. He was Senior Analyst and Research Director Retail Technology at the London-based analyst group Planet Retail. Prior to that, he was the global marketing director for the retail division of Wincor Nixdorf (now Diebold Nixdorf). Joachim Pinhammer is a regular speaker at events organised by Messe Düsseldorf (EuroShop and EuroCIS), the EHI and further industry conferences. His reports are regularly published by trade magazines and online retail industry media.

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