NCR debuts next-gen self-checkout systems

Published on: 2015-02-05

From this press release:

NCR FastLane now features an improved, compact design that allows the device to be deployed beyond high-volume retail and grocery environments into other formats, such as department stores, convenience stores, pharmacies and more. Costumers (sic) are able to scan, bag, and pay for goods by themselves using cash, debit or credit, including the increasingly popular contact-less payment cards.

The newest design is also easier to use for consumers, which cash inputs and outputs being arranged side by side to allow for user-friendly payment transactions. Also, "follow-me" lighting blinks at various points on the device to guide consumers through each step of the checkout process.

In addition, NCR FastLane is now equipped with the NCR RealScan 78OFX bi-optic scanner and scale, which helps make self-checkout scanning quicker and more accessible for consumers. The eye-catching LED Scan Advisor on the top of the scanner provides intuitive visual feedback to the user, and is particularly helpful for hearing-impaired individuals.

The solution's enhanced design also provides operational efficiencies for retailers. NCR FastLane now supports standard integrated coin recycling, as well as the option for integrated bill recycling. Recycling allows the cash and coins consumers insert during a purchase to later be issued as change. This function enables retailers to invest fewer resources in cash management and requires less currency at the beginning of daily operation. It also provides consumers with the convenience of receiving cash back at the self-checkout without any additional cash replenishment burden for the retailer.

Finally, NCR FastLane includes a variety of features that support retailers' commitment to the environment. NCR Two-Sided Thermal Receipt Printing is now a standard feature in each unit, which allows for simultaneous printing on both sides of a thermal paper receipt, reducing paper consumption by up to 40 percent. This can result in less energy being consumed during paper production and distribution, as well as reduce waste, air emissions and wastewater.

In addition, NCR's self-checkout application supports reusable "green" bags by allowing shoppers to place their own bags in the bagging area without alerts. NCR FastLane also utilizes low-energy compact fluorescent bulbs in the lane lights.

Our take:

Aside from a nod to the company for making an (albeit weak) connection to the currently-trendy "green movement", it's possible that the FastLane does actually have some innovative qualities to it.  While self checkout systems are currently huge, expensive and complicated, their efforts to make it a more plug-and-play system will benefit both the cost conscious and the technologically-challenged retailers out there (and between those two groups, that's essentially all of them).

Of course, self-checkout continues to draw its share of detractors, especially when the lanes are used in place of good customer service, or cause customer service quality to drop in other ways. However, the cost and efficiency benefits that properly-implemented systems can bring can't be overlooked, nor can the fact that increasingly, shoppers are looking for the systems as a way to get in and out of the store ever more quickly.

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