July 30, 2005 Consumers can say goodbye to long checkout lines and hello to the new face of retail customer service: the U-Scan Shopper. Developed by Fujitsu, the U-Scan Shopper features a wireless, trolley-mounted computer that gives shoppers information and scan-as-you-shop convenience as they move through a store. “The U-Scan Shopper is the ultimate customer touch point,” says Vernon Slack, director of the U-Scan Shopper solution, Fujitsu Ltd. “It will significantly change the future of the retail front-end. The U-Scan Shopper puts service and checkout in the consumer’s hands, reducing reliance on the point-of-sale for customer service and freeing store personnel to provide customer service in the aisles.”
For the consumer, the system’s wide range of on-trolley information and services includes:
- Item scanning/self-checkout;
Item price-checker and locator;
Remote in-store order placement, such as delicatessen orders;
Personalised offers tied to retailer’s loyalty program;
In-store digital media and promotions linked to trolley location in the store;
Download shopping lists from retailer’s website for in-store reference.
“In a recent study, 61 percent of consumers said that getting through the checkout quickly and without hassles is their biggest frustration,” says Fujitsu’s Marcus May. “U-Scan Shopper is designed to address consumers’ frustrations with checkout lines, price labelling, item location and other complaints. It can also improve the shopping experience in many other ways.
“For example, with the U-Scan Shopper, consumers can upload their shopping lists to the grocer’s website before they leave home, then download that list to the trolley at the store. While moving through the store, the trolley provides detailed information on item location and price, along with location-specific special offers. The shopper can place in-store orders – such as delicatessen orders – from the trolley and scan items at the trolley, avoiding a long wait at the checkout. The U-Scan Shopper is ‘smarter shopping’ in action.”
1:1 Marketing & Customer Loyalty for Retailers
The U-Scan Shopper also helps retailers by providing true 1:1 marketing opportunity. It includes a customer loyalty tool that delivers customised, personalised in-store advertising campaigns that are relevant both to shoppers’ preferences and to their location in the store. Advertising and promotional offers are presented to consumers while they shop.
“Before the U-Scan Shopper, retailers had to drive customer loyalty and service at the point-of-sale with coupons and promotional offers presented after purchase,” says May. “Now, retailers can increase the number of customer touch points in the store and better inform the shopper on their purchase at the point-of-decision. This provides a more effective, measurable sales tool for the retailer while increasing customer satisfaction.”
The U-Scan Shopper can be used either with or without the customer’s loyalty card. If the shopper chooses to remain anonymous, the trolley will still display offers based on the customer’s location in the store. Because the customer display unit is permanently mounted to the trolley, the shopper does not have to take any action to use it.
The display unit’s browser-based application runs on Microsoft Windows CE .NET. The software seamlessly integrates with Fujitsu U-Scan self-checkout systems and all major self-checkout and POS applications, such as Fujitsu’s OnePOS and GlobalSTORE, IBM’s Supermarket Application and SurePOS ACE. Computers are sealed in a polycarbonate cover and are built to withstand weather, temperature and physical abuse.
The U-Scan Shopper also meets objectives of Microsoft’s Smarter Retailing initiative, of which Fujitsu is a member. A key focus area of this initiative, Smarter Shopping, enables retailers to take advantage of existing IT investments and familiar consumer technologies to create a personalised shopping experience that delivers the products customers want, in ways that are convenient and compelling.
“With the U-Scan Shopper, Fujitsu has brought an important product to market that addresses what time-pressed shoppers value most: excellent service, improved product availability, targeted promotions and convenient access to information that makes it easier to make informed decisions,” says Brian Scott, general manager for Microsoft’s Retail & Hospitality Industry Unit. “The U-Scan Shopper is an excellent Microsoft Smarter Retailing solution. It helps retailers tailor the shopping experience, differentiate themselves from competitors and win customer loyalty.”
While developing the U-Scan Shopper, Fujitsu acquired worldwide patents and certain rights in other related intellectual property related to tracking the shopping trolley in the aisle, and advertising based on location in the store. “Each marketing message reaches an individual consumer at the exact product location where industry research indicates over 70 percent of all purchase decisions are made,” says Rod Vawdrey, CEO Fujitsu Australia Limited.
“We believe that the one-to-one electronic communication of the U-Scan Shopper, its point-of-selection delivery and its patent portfolio provide a formidable first position in the in-store marketing space.”