Coles Future Market

Re-inventing the supermarket experience – the team identified innovative opportunities that respond to the needs of a high traffic retail environment.

The Future Market is a visionary project 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. It will:

  • 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. All lanes are express lanes in the new concept.

There are a range of existing technologies that the design team has 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 + weighing
  • Barcode scanning + RFID (read/write)
  • Individually coded RFID
  • Photo recognition

By using the barcode system in conjunction with new technologies the next generation Future Market can be realised within a short term year time frame. All current suppliers are familiar with barcodes and therefore there is no change to supply requirements.

To improve the shopping experience we need to simplify the process. At the moment customers pack the trolley when they select a product, they then unpack the trolley when they arrive at the checkout, then they pack the trolley again this time with filled bags. This can’t be the best way for the future. Handling then re-handling?

  • Smart trolley & basket

Realising the Product Ecosystem

At Blue Sky we’ve designed a smart trolley that only involves packing once. The trolley structure is a lightweight composite frame on which you hang your eco shopping bags. It holds from one to six bags. The next generation basket is a light weight frame structure that enables a customer to pack products directly into his or her own eco bag and neatly folds and stacks for charging at night.

Embedding Useful and Empowering Technology

The new trolley has some simple technology on board; it has an integrated bar code scanner that enables users to scan each item as they pack it into one of the shopping bags. This keeps a tally of the spend and could assist with product information and best buy suggestions and many other possible features. The trolley also has an RFID chip which tells customers where it is within the store providing product locations and tracking. The RFID chip also conveys transaction information to appropriate RFID readers located at key points in the store. The next generation basket works in the same way, as each item is placed into the basket, it is scanned, the LCD display gives product and pricing information.

  • Smart trolley - scanning terminal/display

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 totalled. 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 total comes up on the screen and customers can pay any way they like cash or card. When the payment is made the RFID chip in the trolley resets and you can proceed to the car park. The estimated transaction time regardless of the number of items is less than 2 minutes.

The user interface is simple and clean, the touch screen is intuitive and will simplify transactions. Australians were quick to adapt to ATMs in banks and more recently changes to the Qantas Check-in for air travel and now the new future market experience is achievable.

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 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.

Baskets are weighed on a podium and the RFID chip transmits the total purchase price to the Checkout Pod.

The pods themselves have an angled display face with good ergonomics for all customer heights and sizes. There are additional security devices such as laser scanners which prevent any tampering with the weigh scale during the transaction.

  • Check-out lanes