StoreNext Retail Technologies, a subsidiary of Retailix USA, announced Feb. 4 that it will offer the U-Scan Genesis self-checkout solution from Fujitsu Transaction Solutions to its customers, who are predominantly small independent and regional grocery chains.
U-Scan Genesis features include Fujitsu TeamPoS terminals, two-handed scanning, user interfaces that support up to 12 languages and high-performance bill dispensers. Tony van Seventer, vice president of marketing and products for StoreNext, said U-Scan Genesis is a logical fit for StoreNext's customer base of small grocery retailers.
"Fujitsu U-Scan is really aimed across the board, but in our view, Genesis is particularly suited to smaller grocers," said van Seventer, adding that U-Scan Genesis' small footprint is a key aspect of the system. "A lot of small grocers don't have flexibility or footprint at the front of the store. You can get much more economy with the number of lanes and can fit it in the front end in places that weren't practical with larger units."
Van Seventer also said the solution's lead-through capability benefits customers of small grocers.
"ATM-type lights lead shoppers through transactions where prior versions didn't offer the same extent of lead-through," he said. "A smaller grocer may not have someone 100 percent dedicated to monitoring the checkout. Shoppers will have fewer questions."
According to van Seventer, U-Scan Genesis terminals will also produce shorter checkout lines.
"For smaller grocers, their calling card is good customer service," he says. "They are seldom the low price leader and draw in customers by being high service. If a shopper sees a long line, they will likely turn around and walk out. [U-Scan Genesis] brings small grocers to the same service level that a lot of larger grocers enjoy from having more checkout lanes."
Greg Buzek, president of consulting firm IHL Group, said self-checkout technology can be an important customer service tool for smaller grocers, but cautioned against overestimating its impact.
"In grocery, there is a drive toward self-service and self-checkout," Buzek said. "For the smaller retailer, it has use as a way of providing convenience to the customer, but is not the differentiating factor other retailers have made it out to be."
He said factors like merchandising and presentation are what allow smaller grocers to differentiate themselves in the marketplace.
"Self-checkout is a simply a tool to get customers through lanes faster," he said. "It frees up labor in other areas of the store where smaller retailers can differentiate."
Buzek said smaller retailers are now embracing self-checkout technology and that customers have come to accept it in most retail formats.
StoreNext will make Fujitsu U-Scan Genesis available in one-, two- and four-bag modular and carousel configurations, with tiered and non-tiered options. Belted and multi-lane payment stations will also be available.
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