Monday, May 14, 2012

NU 12 by RT -Smart Shopping Cart (NU12 Paper #5)

Good morning Sir,

Here is my NU12 paper for the week,



I go to the grocery once a week.  Not just out of necessity, but I always want to be updated with new items coming out – either local or imported products.

A few weeks back I was at Shopwise Cubao in particular. For that branch, they have the policy that in order to get free parking for 3 hours, you should have purchased P300 worth of items from them, and P1,000 for 5 hours of parking. So I was mentally calculating each item I was putting in the cart to know if I have already reached the minimum.

My dad, just also recently, got a powdered juice drink when we were at SM Hypermart, Cubao. He got that item particularly because he saw on the price label at the display rack that it was cheaper than elsewhere. But when he got to the cashier, the price came out higher than what was displayed. It turns out the display price was outdated.

After these two instances, I was thinking there have been times when I would see the people before me at the cashier line, removing items last minute because they have exceeded their budget or have run out of money.

Another instance is when supermarkets hold raffle promos where for every certain amount (example for every P500) or for a minimum amount, they will get a raffle stub. And sometimes to complicate things, the groceries required purchase of certain brands and products. I'm sure a lot of shoppers want to maximize their shopping experience by the chance of winning in one of those raffles. My family have experienced running short of the required purchase.

So I was thinking that since supermarkets also want to give as best a service they could to their customers, they should come up with Smart Shopping Carts, which have their own scanning devices that automatically scans the barcodes of the items put inside the cart, showing the running total. Of course it is necessary that the scanners are updated with the latest prices. This will help shoppers budget their money and also maximize their shopping experience – just like in the instances I listed above, like in raffle promos or free parking. Shoppers may have other reasons.
There are a couple ways to build from this idea:
1.       Just like how BPI branches have installed their automated kiosks within their branches so that clients will just input their transactions there before seeing the teller, for the smart shopping cart, since the customer has already put all the items in the cart and know the total and breakdown, once checking out, the cashier just has to receive the money from them. To be more green, the smart shopping cart could read through recyclable shopping bags, so even if the items are placed inside these eco-bags, they can still scan the prices. So once checked out and paid, the shopper can just pick up the eco-bags and go. The cashier can also just give the corresponding raffle stubs if applicable, or free parking pass.
2.       If the shopping cart scanning system is in the form of a tablet, the tablet can also double as a GPS system that would assist the shopper in navigating through the supermarket in order to find the items he or she is looking for. If this is so, the supermarket can earn more by flashing some advertisements by their sponsors in these LCD screens.
With this system, supermarket owners will cut back on manpower and decrease queuing time in the checkout kiosks. Hopefully it would also decrease the instances where people leave items right before the cashier since they've run out of budget. The system will allow shoppers to be more conscientious of what items they're putting in their cart, and be able to shop within their budgets and objectives. 3,5

All these because the supermarket gave maximum service through the Smart Shopping Cart.