The Wall Street Journal is reporting (Warning: paywalled; alternate source) that Panasonic is “introducing convenience-store checkout machines that can scan and bag items on their own, joining Amazon.com Inc. in the push for more retail automation.” The machines will also tally up the total amount owed at checkout so that all you have to do is pay. TechCrunch reports: Last week, Amazon revealed its own more frictionless convenience store pilot, with a location that lets shoppers simply walk out with whatever they want to purchase, for which they’re charged automatically via their Amazon account. The Panasonic system uses tags applied to the goods you pick up to tally the cost as you shop, and then automatically bags your selections via a trap-door in the counter that accepts your basket when you’re ready to go. It could help with lines, and could also help address some of the issues with current self-checkout system, which require a user to scan their own items to find out their bill prior to paying. That added step may seem small, but it actually causes a lot of headaches and hangups, especially with shoppers who aren’t so comfortable with tech. Panasonic’s setup is already in use at a Lawson convenience store near its Osaka HQ, but the broader rollout is still a while off.
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