Panasonic and Trial Company joined forces to conduct a demonstration experiment of the industry’s first RFID based walk through checkout solution. The demonstration was held at the experimental shop, “Trial Lab ,” located at the Trial headquarters using Trial’s “RFID tagging,” which manages manufacturing and distribution data.
With this “RFID based walk-through automatic checkout solution,” customers can automatically checkout by walking through the checkout lane with the basket containing products with RFID tags. By scanning information of, for example, prepaid cards in advance, the solution will automatically scan products and complete payment, so significantly shortening the checkout time.
This also dramatically reduces the store staff operation – no need for manned checkouts and a significantly more customer friendly solution than self checkout or asking customers to use hand held scanners. It also adds the ability to keep track of the individual products and enables dynamic pricing.
This solution proposes a wide range of benefits to both the retail trade and consumers. During the demonstration experiment of the walk-through automatic checkout solution, both companies will explore the potential for applying RFID to future payment systems and for reinventing supply chains. Of particular interest are future possibilities for multichannel retailers to integrate their in-store stock with their online sales although there was no indication of this functionality in the press release.
It’s hard not to compare Panasonic’s walk through checkout solution with Amazon Go as they both have the same aim but with completely different solutions. Both aim to remove checkout friction in a retail environment with Amazon’s based on weight sensors and cameras tracking which products you pick off the shelf. This would require a significant investment in each store to ensure products could be tracked. Panasonic’s solution is somewhat simpler as it only requires the walk through checkouts to be installed (although they do have cameras to track customers), however it would require every single product in the store to have an RFID tag attached.
Both Panasonic and Amazon have the same goal in mind – the reinvention of payment operations for offline retail. It’s likely that different payment wallets will be integrated at some point and the other interesting news today is the launch of the Google Pay app which will replace Android Pay. Naturally you’d also expect Apple Pay, PayPal and merchant checkouts also to be offered.