By Jesse Wood
Feb. 8, 2013. In January, the Boone-based ECR Software Corporation debuted its concept for a new consumer checkout experience at the National Retail Association’s annual convention and expo known as the “Retail’s Big Show.”
More than 27,600 retail professionals attended the show in New York City, walking by, among other products, ECR Software’s product code-named R.A.P.T.O.R. – Retail Application Prototype Testing of Operational Robatics.
A YouTube video (below) highlighting the checkout machine called the RAPTOR at the trade show in New York City starts with the question: What are some of the key things a consumer wants when checking out at the grocery store?
“Well, number one: shorter lines, and number two: can someone please bag my groceries appropriately? Well here is your answer. The most innovative grocery store experience as of yet,” proclaimed Karen Castillo.
This system was designed specifically to maximize transaction flow while simultaneously improving customer service, which is what ECR Software does best. Retail Information Systems ranked ECR Software number one in customer satisfaction by grocery retailers for 2012. .
With the RAPTOR, customers put their items on a conveyor belt that runs across a 360-degree scanner that uses 14 individual cameras to catch the varying-positioned UPC codes. So instead of spending time scanning items, cashiers will be able to concentrate on bagging the groceries.
As ECR Software President Pete Catoe said in the video, “The roll of the cashier has changed. They are no longer spending 99% of their time scanning the items. They spend their time bagging the items correctly. You’ve probably experienced the situations where people place your meat products with chemicals. Well now the bagger or the attendant can spend time to bag correctly because that’s basically what they spend their time doing.”
In the event that one of the cameras doesn’t pick up the UPC code, the system alerts the cashier who is wearing a headset, and the cashier manually enters the item in the system.
Castillo, who signed off by saying she was working on behalf of the grocer independent, said in the video: “The new experience also changes the cashier’s role from having to scan and bag quickly to concentrate solely on the bagging process. This saves retailers on having a cashier and a bagger. Now, depending on what the retailer chooses, the consumer can either pay cashier or pay at an HP pay station.”
Speaking on Friday afternoon, Catoe said the RAPTOR, which he called a “cutting-edge design,” was well received at the convention in January.
“We were overwhelmed. When people see how it works, it kind of stops them in there tracks,” Catoe said. “It really caught a lot of attention.”
He added that ECR Software has “a lot” of backorders, although it is still in the test phase. He mentioned that the RAPTOR will go live in June at its first location.