Automatic checkout. Makes money without the cashier

December, 2015
proto$ gen VI mod 3FFECA (Londinium)
A concept of a fully automated cashier device for retail customers was a natural continuation of our successful experience with e-cashiers for in-house needs?. Such device is not only to accept both cash and credit cards, but also have a fiscal module that allows accepting money from a wide variety of payers and release till receipts.

We took a typical payment kiosk (already equipped with a fiscal module) and fitted it with a credit card processing device and a barcode scanner for order numbers. Then we put it all together, designed and created a new interface, integrated everything with dia$par — and voila!

This is what the prototype device, which is now being used in the 123.ru order processing center, looks like:


The cost of the machine is about three thousand dollars (naturally with big quantities the cost will be significantly lower).
The exterior can be any whatsoever.

While developing this solution we made a conscious decision to discard the change give-back option. We did it for several reasons:

  • the cost of hardware that can give back change is several times higher. Consequently, the ROI figure doesn’t look so pretty then.
  • Let’s admit servicing machines providing change give-back is a pain in the neck: with an ordinary terminal, it’s all about simple cash collection; with a change giving device, however, you have to make sure all the time that  the right amount of the required banknotes available, and put them in and take out when needed. Moreover, all these procedures have to be documented.
  • change giving devices break down a lot easier –resulting in maintenance efforts and costs, and the availability of the service remains doubtful.

On top of that, using terminals that don’t give change has a purely commercial advantage, which we’ll cover below.

How it all works.

  1. A customer approaches the AutoCashier device with a slip that contains his order barcode (it can be printed out either at a self-service terminal, or at home, or by a store salesperson):
  2. The payment terminal scans the barcode and displays the order list:
  3. If everything’s OK, the customer pays for the order in cash:
    or by credit card:
  4. Presto:
  5. If the customer pays cash and doesn’t have the exact sum, he’ll be prompted to transfer the amount of change to his mobile phone account (or pay for any other services from an infinite list of service providers, as in a typical payment kiosk in the street):
    Well, when we say "prompted", that’s quite overstated. Actually, the customer has no choice, but to transfer his change to one recipient or another.
    Commission for this transfer is received by the owner of the terminal — in our case it’s 123.ru, who are using the AutoCashier.
    Here it is, the essential commercial advantage of the no change terminal: in addition to by far cheaper operation and maintenance, its owner earns up to several tens of thousands of rubles of net profit on commission (that, of course, depends on foot traffic).
    Easy money.
    Customers, too, are pretty happy: everyone always has something to pay several tens (or even hundreds) of rubles for.
  6. Dealing with returns (when the customer returns the products he just paid for)

    If paid cash, the refunded is made in cash at the central cash desk.

    If paid by credit card, the refund is transferred to a credit card account. To do so, the person in charge at this point of sale enters his AutoCashier service interface and issues a refund for the transaction. The funds are sent to the credit card account and a refund receipt is printed.

The bottom line.
The AutoCashier allows saving salaries of one to three cashiers (depending on working hours of a store) and some nerves by excluding the human factor along with its errors, screw-ups and sick leaves.
On top of that, it adds to the income column total in the store’s P&L, and does so on a gratis basis, i.e. free of charge.
All investments are paid back within 6 months.

Besides purchasing hardware and dia$par with the AutoCashier component, a potential user of such an inhuman cashier will have to sign an acquiring contract with a bank.

Being inside dia$par. Some stories
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