MERKUR rolls out Self-Checkouts and software
First supermarket chain in the region to fully embrace self-checkout technology
MERKUR, a leading Austrian supermarket chain that is part of the German REWE Group, will deploy 100 innovative NCR self-checkout solutions with associated NCR self-checkout software in about 45 stores in the course of 2016.
Based on positive feedback in eight high volume stores earlier in 2015, NCR self-checkouts have now become an integral part of MERKUR’s store strategy. The technology enables a modern shopping experience and reduces waiting times at checkout, helping to improve customer service and build loyalty.
MERKUR is the first supermarket chain in Austria, as well as the greater DACH region, to implement a full-scale self-checkout strategy. This strategy reflects growing customer demand for self-checkout solutions, a trend that was recently highlighted in a survey commissioned by the German Retail Association, EHI. The findings revealed that 92 percent of customers use self-checkout to reduce waiting time when they check out, while 50 percent use it because they like to experience the latest technology.
"As innovative Austrian grocer we continuously expand our services to deliver a pleasant shopping experience for our customers," said Manfred Denner, member of the MERKUR executive board. "The acceptance of the systems has been very good. 40 percent of customers in our flagship store in Vienna are using the self-checkouts. We now want to offer this flexibility to customers in further stores.”
After comprehensive usability testing, NCR customized the software of its self-checkouts to the specific requirements of MERKUR and adapted the user interface to reflect the company’s branding. Since MERKUR has a strong focus on fresh produce in its in-store market-place, the fast and accurate identification of more than 600 different fresh fruit and vegetables is especially important. The new NCR RealScan™ 79 Bi-optic Imager, used in the latest generation of NCR self-checkouts, enables the desired levels of identification by capturing images of products as well as being able to scan 1D, 2D and mobile bar codes from six different angles.
“Based on our leadership and experience in rolling out retail solutions for customers around the world, we are able to provide a seamless experience, including software modification, to quickly and efficiently meet our customers’ needs,” said Stefan Clemens, Area Sales Leader for Germany, Austria and Switzerland at NCR Retail Solutions. “However, it is not enough to install new technology. To ensure that investment in self-checkout technology is successful for retailers, such as MERKUR, we have created an extensive business model that assesses the neighborhood, demographics, product range and other local specifics for each store. This enables us to identify and implement the right solution for our retail customers and deliver on the objectives they wish to achieve.”
Careful and accurate planning prior to the actual deployment provided a smooth integration of NCR self-checkouts with MERKUR’s existing point-of-sale (POS) infrastructure. Employees have been able to familiarize themselves with the new self-checkouts during dedicated training sessions that continue to contribute to the success and effective roll out of the technology. MERKUR looks forward to continuing to reduce the amount of time spent in queues and expects their customers to embrace the new technology as they did in the initial deployment.