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Singapore supermarket enhances shopping experience with technology

Melissa Chua | Dec. 1, 2008
Smart trolleys, self-weighing and self-checkout system available

SINGAPORE, 01 DECEMBER 2008 A supermarket in western Singapore has equipped itself with technologies aimed at simplifying and enhancing consumers' shopping experience.

Among the technologies debuted at Market Place@One-North is a shopping trolley equipped with LCD screen and radio frequency identification (RFID) sensors, a self-service produce weighing station, and self-checkout stations. The 20,000 sq ft (1,858 sq m) supermarket was opened at a cost of S$4 million (US$2.6 million). At press time, no information on the cost of technology was available.

Smart shopping

Market Place@One-North currently hosts 20 carts which have been outfitted with a 12-inch LCD screen and RFID sensors at its base.

FuturecartDeveloped by local technology media firm SOTF (Store of the Future), these carts are able to track a shopper's location in the store through its RFID sensors. Targeted advertisements, in video or static format, will then be displayed on the LCD screen, depending on which aisle the shopper is in. Health and cooking tips are also displayed on the screen. And a simple SMS can be sent for free recipes to be delivered to a consumer's mobile phone.

Advertising agencies and advertisers need to log on to a Web-based advertisement portal and select the duration of an ad, before uploading content. The content is updated daily.

According to SOTF, it costs between S$1,200 to S$1,700 to retrofit each cart.

Self-service

Another feature of Market Place@One-North is a self-service produce weighing and pricing process, named Hi-Touch, which is only applicable for produce priced by weight.

A consumer wishing to use this system needs to take the following steps:

•    Put the required amount of produce in a plastic bag

•    Tap the black Hi-Touch button located next to the produce's digital price tag, which results in an icon of the produce appearing on the touch-screen LCD of the nearby weighing station

•    Proceed to the weighing station and place the bagged produce on the scale

•    Touch the icon of the produce on the touch-screen LCD

•    A tag with the weight, price and expiry date is printed, for the customer to paste on the bag

Shoppers have up to 15 minutes from the point of tapping the Hi-Touch button, before the icon disappears from the weighing station's screen. After the 15-minute wait time, the various types of produce can be manually selected from a larger menu. The Hi-Touch system is expected to help consumers save time by reducing the need for having service staff bag and tag their items.

Self-checkout

The supermarket also contains two self-checkout stations, which allows consumers to manually scan their purchases using barcode scanners, and pay for them through electronic means, such as Network for Electronic Transfers (better known as NETS) or credit card. Similar stations have been erected at Market Place's other branches at Tanglin and Great World City earlier in the year, and received positive feedback from consumers.

 

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