Japanese convenience store chain Lawson and electronics maker Panasonic have developed an automated system for scanning and bagging purchases and it eliminates the need for a human cashier. The new system is being tested at Lawson’s at Osaka store.
Automatic checkout and packing
Panasonic’s robotic system, which was demonstrated in Osaka on Monday, uses a computerised basket to detect the goods inside and then calculate the price. When the basket is placed into a slot its base slides away and the contents fall into a waiting bag.
Autonomous cashiers have been introduced at some supermarkets in Japan, but shoppers have had to bag products by themselves after payment. The system introduced by Lawson is believed to be the first in which the packing is also automated.
Plans to roll out nationwide by 2018
By February 2017, Panasonic aims to fit each item in the store with an electronic tag. That way, customers will be able to walk into a store, place the items they want into the basket, then head to the robotic station where they simply pay and go.
If successful, the electronics maker aims to introduce the system in more than 10 stores next year, and nationwide by 2018. The system "could bring a revolution to the broader retailing industry," Lawson President and COO Sadanobu Takemasu said, “If demand is strong enough, we are hoping to come up with ways in which customers will get their purchases settled by just passing through the register.”