Consumers can say good-bye to long checkout lines and hello to the new face of retail customer service - the U-Scan Shopper.
Developed by Fujitsu Transaction Solutions Inc. in partnership with Klever Marketing, the Fujitsu U-Scan Shopper features a wireless, cart-mounted computer that empowers shoppers with store information and scan-as-you-shop convenience as they move through a store. The announcement was made at the Food Marketing Institute's (FMI) 2005 Marketechnics Show in Washington, D.C.
"The U-Scan Shopper is the ultimate customer touch point - it will significantly change the future of the retail front-end," said Vernon Slack, director of mobile solutions at Frisco, Texas-based Fujitsu. "It puts service and checkout in the consumer's hands, reducing the reliance on the point-of-sale for customer service and freeing store personnel to help customers in the aisles."
For the consumer, the system's wide range of on-cart information and services includes:
-- Item scanning/self-checkout
-- Personalized offers tied to retailer's loyalty program
-- In-store advertising and promotions linked to cart's location in the store
-- Item price-checker and locater
-- Download shopping lists from retailer's Web site for in-store reference
-- Remote in-store order placement, such as pharmacy and deli orders
"In a recent study, 61 percent of consumers said that getting through checkout quickly and/or without hassles is their biggest frustration," said Slack. "U-Scan Shopper is designed to address consumers' frustrations with checkout lines, price labeling, item location and other complaints. It can also improve the shopping experience in many other ways.
"For example, with the U-Scan Shopper, consumers can upload their shopping lists to the grocer's Web site before they leave home, then download that list to the cart at the store, and be on their way. While moving through the store, the cart provides detailed information on item location and price, along with location-specific special offers. The shopper can place in-store orders - such as pharmacy or deli - from the cart, scan items at the cart and eliminate a long wait at the checkout. The U-Scan Shopper is 'Smarter Shopping' in action."
1:1 Marketing & Customer Loyalty for Retailers
The U-Scan Shopper also helps retailers by providing a true 1:1 marketing and customer loyalty tool that allows for customized, personalized in-store ad campaigns that are relevant both to shoppers' preferences and to their location in the store. Advertising and promotional offers are presented to consumers while they shop.
"Before the U-Scan Shopper, retailers had to drive customer loyalty and service at the point-of-sale with coupons and promotional offers presented after purchase," said Slack. "Now, retailers can increase the number of customer touch points in the store and better inform the shopper on their purchase at the point-of-decision, thereby providing a more effective sales tool for the retailer while increasing customer satisfaction."
The U-Scan Shopper can be used either with or without the customer's loyalty card. If the shopper chooses to remain anonymous, the cart will still display offers based on the customer's location in the store.
Because the customer display unit is permanently mounted to the cart, the shopper does not have to take any action to use it.
The display unit's browser-based application runs on Microsoft Windows CE .NET. The software seamlessly integrates with Fujitsu U-Scan self-checkout systems and all major self-checkout and POS applications, such as IBM's Supermarket Application and SurePOS ACE. Computers are sealed in a polycarbonate cover and are ruggedized to withstand weather, temperature and physical abuse.
The U-Scan Shopper also meets objectives within Microsoft Smarter Retailing, of which Fujitsu is a member. A key focus area of this initiative, Smarter Shopping, enables retailers to take advantage of existing IT investments and familiar consumer technologies to create a personalized shopping experience that delivers the products customers want, in ways that are convenient, easy and compelling.
"With the U-Scan Shopper, Fujitsu has brought an important product to market that addresses what time-pressed shoppers value most - excellent service, improved product availability, targeted promotions and convenient access to information that makes it easier to make informed decisions," said Brian Scott, general manager for Microsoft's Retail & Hospitality Industry Unit. "The U-Scan Shopper is an excellent Microsoft Smarter Retailing solution - helping retailers tailor the shopping experience, differentiate themselves from competitors and win customer loyalty."
Fujitsu developed the U-Scan Shopper through a strategic alliance announced in 2004 with Salt Lake City-based Klever Marketing Inc. (KLMK.OB), under which Fujitsu acquired Klever's non-U.S. patents, its software, and certain rights in other related intellectual property for the U-Scan Shopper. The companies will jointly market the product within the U.S., and Fujitsu will market the product outside the U.S. Klever will develop and manage the wireless, in-store advertising campaigns for retailers using the system.
"Each marketing message reaches an individual consumer at the exact product location where industry research indicates over 70 percent of all purchase decisions are made," said Klever Marketing President and COO Bill Dupre. "Klever Marketing believes that the one-to-one electronic communication capabilities of the U-Scan Shopper, its point-of-selection delivery and its patent portfolio provide a formidable first-position in which to control the in-store marketing space."