9. Self scanning tills

A self-scanning till takes 'self-service' one step further than the usual EPOS till. Customers scan the barcodes on the items in their trolley themselves and pack their bags as they record each item.


Advantages for customers Disadvantages for customers
You don't have to wait in a long queue to be served by a cashier. There can be queues even at self scanning tills and people ahead of you can often be very slow
You can do things at your own pace - sometimes it can be stressful if the cashier is scanning faster than you can pack. Self scanning tills can be frustrating when they won't scan your items and keep giving you warning messages
You might not want a cashier looking at the things that you have purchased. You often need to call an assistant to approve certain purchases such as alcohol
  If you aren't used to using these tills they can be daunting

The self-scanning till has some extra electronics installed in order to ensure that the correct items are being loaded into the shopping bag. For example there is a weighing system included that looks up the expected weight of items from the stock database, if there is a mismatch with what is going into the bag, a message such as 'Unexpected item' may be sounded and a member of staff will assist.

Self-scanning tills still need a member of staff looking over them to deal with age-restricted items and to ensure that customers are making the proper payments.

Payment is made by chip-and-pin debit or credit card using a card reader, but in addition it has the ability to insert bank notes to make payment and give change. It can also deal with money-off coupons that have a bar code included on them and loyalty cards.

Overall, self-scanning tills are more complicated that the usual EPOS till because members of the public are expected to use them without training.

An alternative to bar codes on each product, is the use of RFID technology. This is not common in supermarkets because of the sheer volume of products, but you will see them used in libraries where every book has a RFID tag inside.


Challenge see if you can find out one extra fact on this topic that we haven't already told you

Click on this link: Self service tills and EPOS