"A significant development of the payment processes in retail"
Interview with Christoph von Lingen, Country Sales Leader at Toshiba
Technologies for self checkout are developing quite fast. Nevertheless, German customers are quite hesitant concerning this topic, as Christoph von Lingen points out in the interview.
Mr. von Lingen, self checkout systems are presently an important retail topic. How do you view the situation in an international comparison?
Right now, we are testing our current self checkout solutions in a project with the company real,- and noticed during this and other pilot projects that there are definitely distinct differences between the American and European markets in terms of requirements for these types of systems.
This is primarily an issue of form factor: whereas large structures have room in any checkout zone in the U.S., European retailers want smaller systems that still need to be flexible and adaptable to various user scenarios. Our self checkout systems let retailers offer their customers different payment options and only occupy little floor space. The modular systems are equipped with separate scanning, bagging and payment units that can be adapted and configured to the respective store environment.
With these systems, we were able to demonstrate during EuroCIS 2016 that we understand the specific needs of different markets and are able to offer the perfect solution for every checkout area.
In your opinion, which topic will particularly impact the retail sector in Germany over the next few years?
Self checkout systems have, of course, been hailed as a breakthrough in the German market for several years now. However, except for the corresponding pilot projects we are successfully conducting like other manufacturers, we presently don’t see much movement in this area.
Another topic that has not just been on the horizon for our industry, but also increasingly with end users is the “farewell” to cash, that being the question as to whether cashless forms of payment will continue to become accepted. The debate is presently also fueled by policy makers who want to abolish the 500 Euro note.
What do you think the checkout area will look like in the future?
I believe the trend in retail checkout counters in the future is moving increasingly toward offering checkouts in every store that only accept cashless payment forms – with your credit card, the smartphone or another digital method. IKEA is already successfully implementing this type of concept with its checkouts available only for credit card users. Other new methods, such as paying with biometric facial recognition, for example, are also already waiting in the wings.
That’s why I believe we will see a clear trend in terms of payment processes in retail over the next five years. Other countries such as those in the Scandinavian region, for example, are clearly further ahead and it is entirely normal to even charge small amounts on your card. This will also be the case here in Germany – we see this in our project with real,- market where more and more customers make cashless payments at the checkout. In contrast, self checkout systems will continue to play a somewhat minor role, at least in these parts.
How important is EuroCIS as a trade fair for your company?
The EuroCIS trade fair is incredibly important to us! It offers both our customers and us the opportunity to communicate with relevant experts in a compact and focused setting. What’s more, EuroCIS is also frequented by the most important decision makers in the industry. That why nowhere else are we not only able to directly get ideas for new product development, but also reach our customers – both our regular clientele and new customers. The EuroCIS trade fair is an absolute must-go-to event in our annual trade show scheduling!