Safeway opens trials for shopper scanning plan to ease checkouts

Safeway is the first UK supermarket chain to trial a new self-scanning system for shoppers from Symbol Technologies.

The new scanning system, Portable Personal Shopping, which is being piloted by Safeway’s Solihull superstore. It allows shoppers to record product purchases as they take items from the shelves, see a running total of the bill and reduce queuing time by eliminating the traditional checkout.

One hundred customers who are taking part in the trial will, on entering the store, unlock a scanner from a special dispenser system with their Safeway ABC card. The intelligent dispenser system is linked on-line to the in-store computer which processes all data about products, prices and information about the customer using the devices.

When the shopping is completed, the scanner is returned to the dispenser system where a receipt is printed, and the shopper simply takes their receipt and groceries to an express checkout and pays.

The scanning system’s reliance on shoppers’ honesty in recording all their purchases might be considered a flaw, yet Symbol argues that random checks will ensure that the problem of deception does not arise.

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