Solutions News - Metro to extend self-checkout scheme after positive results

The Metro Group is to extend its self-checking out pilot scheme, following the interim results of its Extra Future Store Initiative.

According to a spokesman for the German grocer, four to ten stores in its Real hypermarket chain will be fitted with the fastlane self-checkout tills.

The decision follows positive results from a pilot scheme, which began in April at the Extra store at Reinberg, in the Ruhr. According to Metro technology partner IBM, the store increased its footfall by 31 per cent during the trials.

The most popular feature was the intelligent scale provided by technology partner IBM, known as 'veggie vision'. About two thirds of customers used this device, which recognises the type of fruit or vegetable on the scale and calculates the price according to the load.

Another hit with customers was the information terminal placed at the end of the wine aisle. Some 20 per cent of customers logged in to get information on wine and print out meal recipes recommended by the computer.

However, not all customer responses were as positive. Mobile devices that clipped onto shopping baskets, helping shoppers to navigate the store - known as Personal Shopping Assistants (PSAs) - were not taken up as readily as managers had previously hoped. 'What needs to be improved is the personal shopping assistant,' said IBM vice-president for distribution EMEA Alain Benichou. 'We were expecting more customers to use it. There were scanning problems to start with and it wasn't easy to download your shopping list onto the device.'

A Metro spokesman said the company was looking at ways of improving the device. He said: 'The current PSA is a very basic version. We are on track with a phase two of that device, with a new touch screen and improved store navigation that lets you know exactly where you are. We are also working on a connection to the Internet, so customers can download their shopping lists onto the PSA.'