The Future Market is a visionary project undertaken by Blue Sky that uses known technologies to make a complete step change to the shopping experience. This project is about changing the purchasing processes for supermarket customers by:
- Dramatically reduce the time taken at the checkout
- Free valuable floor space currently used by cumbersome check-out stations
- Change the role of staff from shop assistants to retail hosts
- Enhance the shopping experience for customers and increase revenue
The Future Market concept has an all new transaction process that caters for each different shopper type including ‘Quick’ shoppers, and ‘Larger’ shoppers.All customers pass through the transaction point in the same way and there is no need to divide the store with different types of check outs.
There are a range of existing technologies that the design team utilised to improve efficiencies and experiences in the retail environment. These technologies when combined with innovative industrial design create an all new shopping experience. These new technologies include Barcode scanning, RFID (read/write) and photo recognition.
As part of the project, Blue Sky designed a smart trolley. The trolley structure is a lightweight composite frame on which you hang your shopping bags. A next generation basket was also designed and is a light weight frame structure that enables a customer to pack products directly into his or her own bag and neatly folds and stacks for charging at night.
Using the system designed, when you’ve finished shopping you simply go to the nearest pay station. There are no queues because the throughput takes considerably less time than current checkouts. There is no need to unpack your trolley or basket. Simply park your trolley on the weigh scale and it’s all totaled. The RFID chip inside the trolley sends the total purchase price to the Checkout Pod. The weigh scale cross checks the contents with the total to verify that the correct number of items have been scanned. The estimated transaction time regardless of the number of items is less than 2 minutes.
The new Checkout Pods can be configured radially or in a line and the space savings in store will give the freedom for stores to expand their displays as it would be far smaller than the current checkout foot print. The user interface is simple and clean, the touch screen is intuitive and will simplify transactions. The effect on the store is dramatic. The whole front end is opened up with clear views down the aisles and additional floor space for merchandising and promotional activities to further enrich the shopping experience.