Just drop it and pay. Do you know how Decathlon boxes work? – Marketer

Have you ever been to a Decathlon store and, when paying, you come across a machine that registers products without having to scan barcodes or look for the corresponding icon on the screen (as is the case for fruit and vegetables in some supermarkets, for example)? Since 2019, Decathlon stores in Portugal have been introducing this technology, which almost looks like a magic trick: all you have to do is put the items in the box and the machine automatically recognizes them.

It’s not magic though. The basis of this solution is RFID technology – ie Radio Frequency Identification – which allows each customer to save around 5 seconds per item compared to the traditional system. According to an official source, this is a Quick Check Out (QCO) concept and not just a Self Check Out, since what Decathlon wants is to guarantee a quick ticket, but with follow-up if necessary. “Never forgetting that there are customers who prefer to pay independently and others who prefer to be helped, our challenge is to balance this balance on a daily basis”, explains a Marketeer spokesperson.

Currently, all Decathlon stores in Portugal have this solution. At the start of the pandemic, Quick Check Out was extended to all cashiers in order to minimize contact, in accordance with the recommendations of the Directorate General of Health.

But the beginning of the project dates back to 2008, when the first tests were carried out in France. “Since then, it’s been a gradual evolution,” said the same source. “Regarding our entire supply chain, RFID is a major driver of our digital transformation, contributing significantly to the automation of procedures and their reliability. »

The big challenge will be to ensure that every product sold at Decathlon has an RFID chip, which can be particularly difficult when the item is not made by Decathlon brands.

Delivered to “magic”

At the end of last year, Decathlon conducted a survey in several stores and the results are positive: on average, 90% of customers appreciate the checkout process, with the best performing store obtaining 94% satisfaction.

Decathlon recognizes that some people prefer the service at a traditional cashier, because at least part of the process is now in the hands of the customers and there are those who consider that it is not their “job” and that, in addition, these changes could result in layoffs. “But the strategy is more complex than simply removing employees from the queue. In fact, our goal is to transfer this human capital to the store, where the customer needs technical advice to choose their product and have a more rewarding experience,” explains the spokesperson.

“Between having an employee who checks out the items, or having this same employee available inside the store to be able to help a customer choose the product that best suits his sport, I am convinced that most customers would choose the latter. option.”

It is also in this scenario that Decathlon is working, among other things, to automate stock inventories, freeing employees from routine tasks that provide less pleasure.

On the cashier side, the next step in the digitalization strategy is to dematerialize the payment process. “We see more and more retailers testing traditional cashless store solutions and Decathlon is no exception,” with an eye on technology that will enable the strategy to be replicated in the years to come.

“Today, with 100% Quick Check Out, I would say that we are halfway through our project and that the next steps are clear”, namely: in the short term, giving the possibility to the customer to pay in cash in complete autonomy; eventually, allow customers to pay for a store product independently via its Decathlon application (without going through the queue).

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