The Los Angeles Times reports how Ralphs, a grocery store chain, is using technology to speed up checkout times for customers:
Known as QueVision, the system uses hidden infrared cameras with body heat trackers to figure out how many customers are shopping at any given time. Managers use that information to redeploy workers to the cash registers when things get busy.
It’s already paying off. QueVision has trimmed the average time it takes to get to the front of the line to roughly 30 seconds from the national average of four minutes, a Ralphs spokeswoman said.
The checkout system is part of a long-overdue effort by traditional grocery chains to evolve and stay competitive through the use of technology.
I remember reading about this on Tesco’s virtual store:
In 2011, Tesco launched its futuristic Homeplus market at a Seoul subway stop. There’s no food in this virtual grocery store, only interactive walls around the station that display photos of fruit, vegetables, milk and other grocery staples. Using their smartphones, commuters can buy these products by photographing QR codes printed on the images and paying through their phones. Tesco delivers the purchases to customers’ homes the same day.
The article cites something else worth pondering: the grocery store industry is a $518 billion business in the United States.