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Wireless Networking Technology Hardware

Wireless Shopping Carts Run Windows CE 274

Posted by Zonk
from the carts-go-mad,-wreck-local-shopping-center dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Fujitsu has introduced a self-service retail scanner that could make long checkout lines a relic of the past. The U-Scan Shopper is a ruggedized XScale-based wireless computer with an integral bar code scanner, running Windows CE 4.2, and mounted on a shopping cart. The company even suggests that customers might upload a shopping list to the store's website before leaving home, and then download the list to the shopping cart upon arriving at the store."
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Wireless Shopping Carts Run Windows CE

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  • From the article:

    Self-scanning in aisle -- costumers can scan and bag items while shopping to get a running basket total and eliminate waiting time at checkout

    This sounds like a recipe for shoplifting to me.

    • Most of the stores I've been in with these 'self scan' systems are a nightmare. I swear, they check at least quarter of the people who use the scanning system, and if you happen not to be white, male, and dressed in business attire, well your chances of getting checked out just shot up. When you have to get all your groceries checked out even 1 in 10 times, it defeats the convenience of self scanning.
      • When you have to get all your groceries checked out even 1 in 10 times, it defeats the convenience of self scanning.

        Actually, it does not -- if there is no wait for the self-scan, but a few people wait to the regular registers.

        But even you should admit, that even purple rag-dressed females benefit from not having to wait for those white business-attired males. Those guys zoom through the self-scan lines, shortening the wait for the others.

      • At the Kroger I go to they don't check anyone, ever. Sometimes they ask for a signature for my credit card payment, but 90% of the time they don't even ask me for that.

        THis particular system uses a scale that you put the items you've scanned on. If the weight of the items on the scale doesn't equal the weight of the items you've scanned it flags your station and won't let you scan anything else until you fix it.

        It handles produce too so I guess for that and other variable weight items they must have data
    • It does, doesn't it? Maybe they'd have a weighing system in that to combat it: i.e. you put a pound of dutch loaf in the cart. That detects a pound, you scan it, and that pound is now accounted for. Dock with a POS terminal that checks your weight after scanning vs. weight when passing through, do a checksum...and if everything meets a standard deviation or two, it goes through. 'course, that's just my guess.
    • That's why you need RFID.

      With an RFID chip in each item, you just pass the basket under a scanner, and your total would show up. No hiding items at all (I agree that absue would be too easy with the system in the article). You pay and walk out the door.

      The other problem with the system is bagging. When do things get bagged? Do you just dump everything lose in the back of your car, or do you bag as you shop?

      • by dzarn (760066) <dzarn+slashdot@ a m o vita.net> on Saturday February 19, 2005 @12:31AM (#11720192)
        The other problem with the system is bagging. When do things get bagged?

        You do realize both the article AND THE PARENT POST said Self-scanning in aisle -- costumers can scan and bag items while shopping, right? I mean, missing the article I can understand, but the post you just read?
  • Um... so? (Score:5, Informative)

    by PedanticSpellingTrol (746300) on Friday February 18, 2005 @10:31PM (#11719516)
    All the grocery stores here in Columbia, SC have had systems like this for at least a year and a half... and being south carolina, surely we're well behind the curve.
    • by slagdogg (549983)
      Really? No such luck in Seattle, WA ... or Redmond, WA for that matter :)

      We do have valet parking at one grocery store though ... something tells me SC does *not* have that.
      • hmm... I left town just before the Publix opened up in the old confederate printing press downtown, and the parking situation aroud there can only be described as dire... I wouldn't bee too suprised if they did. But as I said, no firsthand experience, this is just speculation.

        Also, I should've RTFA-title... I was thinking about the self-checkout stations near the front of the store, not a scan-as-you-go cart.

    • Are you talking about the self checkout lines, or actual checkout devices in the shopping carts as this article is talking about?

      I've seen the self checkouts everywhere, but never ones that are wireless and on the cart, letting you check out AS you shop.
    • Not necessarily. I've driven in lots of places around the USA, and Alabama of all places is the only one where I've seen kilometer marking signs on the interstates. They had mile markers in addition, but the fact they had kilometer markings floored me.
      • I've driven in lots of places around the USA, and Alabama of all places is the only one where I've seen kilometer marking signs on the interstates.

        Interstate I-19 South from Tucson to Nogales, Arizona (a distance of 71 miles) is also signed in metric. It's been that way since sometime in the 1970's. Recently some of the metric signage has been discarded as part of a reconstruction project at the intersection of I-10 and I-19.

        I-19 is also one of the few interstates that doesn't cross a state border.
    • I've been all over the country, and this is the first I've heard of these.

      Self-checkout lines are nothing new. If that's what you're talking about, those are everywhere.

      But the article is talking about a device mounted on the cart with a barcode scanner. You scan the items as you add them to the cart and get a running total, as well as not having to actually wait in line to check out at the front of the store. You've already scanned everything, so it just uploads that to the register and charges you for i
  • by ravenspear (756059) on Friday February 18, 2005 @10:32PM (#11719518)
    When a buffer overflow occurs a trap door on the underside of the cart is triggered and all your groceries spill out onto the floor.
    • by Quantum Fizz (860218) on Friday February 18, 2005 @10:34PM (#11719534)
      Or it would give a new take on those Total cereal commercials.

      You'll have to eat 12093749283745 bowls of Raisin Bran to get all the nutrition of one bowl of Total.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 18, 2005 @10:58PM (#11719675)
      Unrelated to the idea of a crashing shopping cart, but I'm reminded of a little stunt many university friends and I pulled at one of our local supermarkets, Coles.

      about a year ago I went through the checkouts and when a pack of jellybeans was scanned, the register bluescreened. I sniggered a little, but hey - I'm accepting - sometimes these things crash. It took the register guy a few minutes to get the attention of a supervisor ("It's gone blue again!") to reset the register, call up the previous parts of my shopping, and get things going again.

      Supervisor re-scanned the jellybeans, and it bluescreened again. Ha!. Next time around he just entered a generic confectionary code and I went on my way. That was kinda cool, and getting back to dorms we had a laugh about it, and decided to all head down at some random busy time and try the same again.

      It was cool! eight of us all went through different registers at about the same time, all bluescreening one after another with packets of Candy Lane Jellybeans.

      DDoSing a supermarket, it was cool!
    • I actually did have a problem with malfunctioning electronics in a shopping cart. At the Price Chopper grocery store out here, the carts have electronic braking systems that are designed to make the wheels stop rolling if the cart leaves the parking lot. Mine locked as soon as I got out of the store, well before we got to the car. I don't believe it was running Windows but you never know.
  • by hndrcks (39873) on Friday February 18, 2005 @10:32PM (#11719521) Homepage
    Absolutely no Beowulf Clusters.

    • No no no. First you have to install Linux on it. Just go with the shopping cart to the bathroom and do your dirty deed.

      When you have all shopping carts converted to Linux, then when the shopping carts come together to their "resting" area (where idle > 90%), then they use their wireless network to create a Beowulf Cluster to crunch the 43rd Mersenne Prime [slashdot.org].

  • Good idea but (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CastrTroy (595695) on Friday February 18, 2005 @10:35PM (#11719539) Homepage
    When are they actually going to come up with something that will save you money at the grocery store. Maybe something like fridges that are closed, so they don't have to cool the entire store. Even the beer stores in Ontario have gone this way, cooling the entire store. Result. Warmer, more expensive beer.
    • Re:Good idea but (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jm92956n (758515) on Friday February 18, 2005 @10:51PM (#11719644) Journal
      When are they actually going to come up with something that will save you money at the grocery store.

      It's not about saving you money, it's about saving them money.

      I work part-time at a grocery store (and 9 credits short of a masters', too), and I know how unreliable cashiers are. They call out sick. A lot. Or they simply don't show up. And then there's the whole thing about having to provide benefits--these are all expenses, and the food industry (outside of 5 star restaurants) is notoriously low margin. They have to save money where they can.

      To further compound the situation, the grocery industry is facing increased competition from WalMart, everyone's "favorite" discount store. I'm in an area that's, for now at least, immune to behometh, but other areas aren't.

      Perhaps you remember the prolonged grocery store workers' strike that occurred last year in California? It was because they simply can't afford to have that many workers on the books. The UPC revolutionized the industry and enormously increased the efficiency of the average cashier. Here's a technology that'll produce even more savings (for the store, of course). Even if a few less-than desirable people use it as an opportunity to walk out of the store with unpaid food, they'll still probably make out in the end.

      Oh, and the reason for the open coolers? The stores have to be air-conditioned anyway (heat does evil things to food), so it doesn't make much sense to put doors on any of the cases except the frozen products, especially when lazy people object to having to put forth the effort required to continuously open doors.
      • Re:Good idea but (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Ced_Ex (789138)
        Oh, and the reason for the open coolers? The stores have to be air-conditioned anyway (heat does evil things to food), so it doesn't make much sense to put doors on any of the cases except the frozen products, especially when lazy people object to having to put forth the effort required to continuously open doors.

        So what happens when they need to heat the store? Say, like in winter? Seems to be counter productive to heat and cool a store.
        • Re:Good idea but (Score:3, Insightful)

          by bluGill (862)

          Have you done a HVAC evaluation of a store? Don't jump to conclusions too quick, in many cases these stores need to run the AC anyway until the temperature is -10f. Body heat accounts for quite a bit. Particularly when there is other equipment that gives off heat as a by-product.

          As the other guy said, cold air tends to sit in the coolers, not raise up. The effect is there, but it isn't as significant as you would guess.

          All this assumes that the fridges vent the excess heat outside, which is not true

      • ... open coolers ...

        Question: for laboratories, are there hoods with a laminar airflow from top to bottom that acts as a "door" that you can put your hand through? Could this be done for store refirerators, to keep the cold air in the fridge while having no door? I suppose if it could be, and if it would save money, it would have been done already...

      • I work part-time at a grocery store (and 9 credits short of a masters', too), and I know how unreliable cashiers are. They call out sick. A lot. Or they simply don't show up. And then there's the whole thing about having to provide benefits--these are all expenses, and the food industry (outside of 5 star restaurants) is notoriously low margin. They have to save money where they can.

        I have some better ideas to save money:

        1. Don't pay anyone sick-pay, and if they're off too much, sack them. Grocery shop w
  • by CygnusXII (324675) on Friday February 18, 2005 @10:36PM (#11719548)
    So now Cities that have fines for shopping cart being off the premises, can fine a business for Toxic Materials being improperly stored, retained or looked after. On the other hand, the homeless can really look forward to retasking the devices and get internet access.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The shopping carts are always crashing into cars in shopping mall parking lots.
  • by Lostie (772712) on Friday February 18, 2005 @10:38PM (#11719554)
    Yup, if I saw one at my local supermarket, I'd gladly give up a £1 coin (many UK supermarkets make you put a £1 coin into them as a "deposit") to steal one. For £1, it's a bargain for sure!
  • Bad idea (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I work at a grocery store and the bags are at the front of the cashier tables (infact I just got home from work). The bags at our store are usually guarded by cashiers, but many bags are still in boxes up at the front open so cashiers and 'bag boys' can conviently refill their racks easily. Many customers already try to steal bags from the front and bag their groceries as they shop and then attempt to leave the store. Its unbelievable how gullable they think we are: "Im sorry Sir, you did not pay for those
  • I for one welcome the day when every job is replaced by a computer, and we all become people who just program and look after the computers. Seriously, if you implement this, automate McD's with machines, and automate the gas pumps, they'll be no more jobs for high school kids. And with ever increasing tuition costs, nobody will be able to afford college.
  • by NoMercy (105420) on Friday February 18, 2005 @10:40PM (#11719571)
    A local store tiraled self-scaning, and decided to withdraw the service eventually...

    people fail to scan things, so you get goods leaving the store unpaid for and coupled to that you don't have people stuck in queues, which although a bane to customers, it's while your stuck in queues that your right next to the magazines, sweets and other goods which they put there to tempt you, so they loose sales of last minute items too.

    On the plus side you don't need to employ as many staff on the tills, but there normally minimum wage or just above it, so not a huge saving there concidering the new expense on the gadgets, mantance etc.

    In conclusion, were unlikely to see it anywhere big-scale, though walk-though checkouts using RFID might appear, though in the UK we now have almost all the major stores offering online shopping, couple that with the local shops for fruit, vedge and the other things people like to feel before they buy and the supermarket could be comming to an end...
    • I remember seeing a commercial a few years (okay...like 12 years ago) where they would push the cart through an enclosed machine, and it would come out the other end with your purchases tabulated. Never made it live, but a cool idea.

      Of course, when they start going with the RFID, just start making sure you buy a lot of aluminum foil everytime you go to the store and place it strategically around the cart :)

      I don't mind waiting in lines (or queues) as long as they are moving. One chain has very friendly
  • I think this is pretty cool. I would like to see it in action (on a large scale). I know there are some installations of it, but I think it is as good an idea as the ATM.

    My only questions:
    1) Does it run bluetooth/802.11x or IR to sync with my Pocket PC
    2) Does it cost so damn much that the price of food will go way up (again)?

    -WS
  • Dynamic pricing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SpaceLifeForm (228190) on Friday February 18, 2005 @10:42PM (#11719582)
    The company even suggests that customers might upload a shopping list to the store's website before leaving home, and then download the list to the shopping cart upon arriving at the store."

    Right. Let them know you're coming. They're sure to have a 'special' just for you, their 'select' customer.

    • Hmm... As long as they know you're coming, let them get your groceries and have them ready when you get there. Waiting by the curb. I think this [peapod.com] is already being done with robotic "pickers" in more of a warehouse/factory type setting with bins and conveyor belts but they also deliver. Pricey. Maybe a regular 'Kroger' type store could pay the laid off baggers to wear roller blades and do the 'picking'? I'd pay extra if I never had to set foot in the store.
      • If they're going to round up all of your shopping for you, then they may as well deliver it to your house. Tesco's does this in the UK, but they charge £5 for the service, which seems a bit steep.
    • Yeah, if they have a running total, just take items out of the cart as you near the front of the store.

      Items out... items in... same total... items out... items in... hmmm $1 off.

      Let's leave that gallon of ice cream in the cracker section... ding ding ding. Miscreant on aisle three!

  • Wasn't self-checkout [geekswithblogs.net], like some chains have, supposed to be super fast and easy? They've been far from that the 3 or 4 times I've tried it.
  • Why Not Linux? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by LighthouseJ (453757) on Friday February 18, 2005 @10:50PM (#11719634)
    Why can't Linux get in on this? It seems like to me that Linux is much smaller and more flexible and secure than Windows to use in embedded devices like this. Why can't they use a free software base to produce something better? That way there's a smaller cost to market these devices to the supermarket chain you are pushing for.

    The only downside is that Microsoft already has a framework for this kind of thing because it's in their own financial best interest. For a group to do this in Linux, the only interest would be in furthering Linux's acceptability in everydays lives.
    • FUD (Score:3, Informative)

      by ad0gg (594412)
      Tell me why linux is more secure than WinCE? These are embedded OSs. What are you gonna exploit on winCE or embedded linux? Also how is it more flexible? WindowsCE comes with source so you can strip out stuff you don't need and customize it. As for cost, it is less than $3 a device [windowsfordevices.com].
  • Great. Now I have to reboot my damn shopping cart, too.
  • I've already tried one of those self checkout grocery store things and all I can say is that I'm not impressed. I don't see how moving the device to the shopping cart would make things any easier.

    What is so difficult about going through a check out line? You might have to talk to a real person? Oh, how terrible. As much as I love technology and automation, I would rather pay a little more for my groceries then deal with the hassle of a self checkout system.

    Now, if they had humanoid robots that did the che
    • by rkcallaghan (858110)
      What is so difficult about going through a check out line? You might have to talk to a real person? Oh, how terrible.

      High School Flunkie Cashier: Do you have a Value Membership Card Ma'am?

      Me: No.

      HSFC: Oh would you like one? You can see all of our great savings!

      Me: No.

      HSFC: Okay then could I get your telephone number and zip code please?

      Me: No.

      HSFC: Are you sure? We could use that to save your the hassle of having to bring a card with you?

      Me: No.

      HSFC: Alright then ... *rings up it
  • by pangur (95072) on Friday February 18, 2005 @10:51PM (#11719641)
    I used to work for Pathmark, a grocery shore chain in the Northeast US (specifically NY). About ten years ago the put on all their carts a screen that would notify them of specials in different lanes. You could accept coupons as they were sent to the screen.

    I thought it was going to be the next wave of the future.

    Within nine months, every cart had the system stripped out.

    I don't know the exact reason the system was pulled (I had stopped working there by then). It was flaky, didn't always change display based on aisle, and some panels were broken, either by extreme weather (-20F that winter) or on purpose. Those are not trivial losses for a business with a tiny profit margin.

    I use the self-serve checkout stands when I can. Some work fine, others keep telling me to start over from the beginning. Either way is slower than having someone else do it.

    All I'm saying, is that it had better be a damn good piece of technology that saves some money on the backend before we see this stuff available at the local supermarket.
    • by Bri3D (584578) on Friday February 18, 2005 @11:34PM (#11719854) Journal
      The self-checkout stands are great except for that they're never any faster. Why? The people using them are morons. It doesn't help that the vast majority of them talk obnoxiously and simply confuse people. I especially love the Wal-Mart ones. They run Windows 2000, as I learned after the POS(That's Point of Sale though it might as well be the alternative) application tried to read some protected memory. On these systems, every time you press a button the unit goes unresponsive for ~5secs reading audio data.
      • Not all of them. I've seen MacOS errors on some of the ones are our local Wally World.

        I agree with your other points - most people are too dumb to use them and they are a POS.

        Though my best recollection was a 70 year old guy and his wife. He scanned her dress, put it on the belt and as it got halfway through the arches, it sent it back to him - must have not thought it was the right item. He looked at the screen, belt and dress, and just chucked it down to his wife who was bagging stuff.
      • You're absolutely right. It doesn't help the idiotic users that the machines are absolutely user-unfriendly. I work in a grocery store with a set of U-scan machines. The bag racks are on this giant lazy susan that has a scale. The system measures weight of the lazy susan and calculates whether they're trying to take items out or something. This works all well and good except it's SLOW. You have to scan an item and drop it in a bag and then wait about 4 seconds for the weight to register before it'll l
      • The machines don't work right. On one, I found I had to hover the bar code a bit above the glass to make it read. It wouldn't read well if the object was on the glass. I am glad the focus was below the glass. The systems themselves are slow. If something isn't right it would cause delays. If it didn't properly sense an item drop in the bag, it would make you get the manager or something. Even when it did work, I scan an item, and it waits several seconds before presenting the next step. The UI just
      • The self-checkout stands are great except for that they're never any faster. Why? The people using them are morons.

        When they were first introduced here, like self-checkin at the airport they were faster to use because everyone else was scared of using them so there were no queues. Now that everyone uses them, it is faster to pick the cutest checkout operator and join her queue.

        Part of the problem is that the ones here use scales to check that what you scan is what you put in your shopping bag, and the

        • I have seen many people who have to listen to the audio prompts before they will do anything. So...after every item, they spend 5 seconds listening to "Please place the item in the bag" before they just do the logical next step, which is placing the item in the bag. It doesn't help when for example at Home Depot(which I think runs the same app as Walmart-slow+Windows based), the checkout calls a credit card reader a "PIN Pad Device." At my local Home Depot the employees were forced to write "PIN Pad Dev
      • I generally find the self-checkout lanes much faster. The morons in my area tend to use the regular lanes and avoid self-checkout. The units I've used don't bother with audio unless you wait for them to talk. I do prefer the units that let you sign electronicly. What's the point of self-checkout if you have to wait for a cashier? My major complaint is that all of the stores in my area insist on turning the units off at 10PM. They seem to think it's better to have 30 people wait in line for the single cashie
        • You must have intelligently designed machines then, no audio. I have found the audio to be the main slowdown for people with less-than-average intelligence as they must listen to it before doing anything. And don't worry, they'll start coming to the self-check soon once it seeps in that the lines are shorter. In my area about a year after self-checks were put in plenty of morons started using them...
  • by Cryofan (194126) <cryofan.yahoo@com> on Friday February 18, 2005 @10:59PM (#11719680) Homepage Journal
    I wonder if they are sending back postition signals for collection while you are pushing the cart throughout the store. That way they could map traffic pattern and speeds of all shoppers and use that for marketing analysis....
  • among many, many, things, these two little little details:

    http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/02/18/ 1 92 0244&tid=201&tid=218

    and

    http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/02/18/ 21 3239&tid=158&tid=219

    There is no way in hell I will ever participate in any such activities.
    I'll keep my green cash in my pocket, next to my 9mm, where both will stay until I decided.
    I'll maintain my own privacy and my own security and my own possesions...

    Thanks, but no thanks...
  • customers might upload a shopping list to the store's website before leaving home, and then download the list to the shopping cart upon arriving at the store.

    It3m #1: G04ts3 decorative poster.
    It3m #2: G0at53-B-G0n3 eyewash.
    It3m #3: Flea and SCO repellant.
    It3m #4: Lubriall hand and skin cream.
    It3m #5: ??? It3m #6: PROFIT!!!

  • Did anyone else see that screenshot? That looks like a nightmare. Trained "associates" have a hard time scanning and bagging. Are we sure that people will be smart, fair, and advanced enough to use this system to its fullest without resorting to extra-intentional functions?

    • It does look too ambitious to me. I can imagine the aisles of the future grocery store, clogged with people staring at their little PDA screens.

      If they stuck to making the following three functions extremely easy, they'd have a winner: (1) locate an item for me; (2) price an item (3) ring up the items I put in my cart so I can get out of there faster.

      Maybe Apple will make an iCart.
  • "Hi. I'm Stringy. It looks like you're shopping for feminine hygiene prodcuts today. Would you like some help in making your purchase? * Heavy flow * Light flow * Daily pads * I'm a man, you freakin' jackass Please select how I might help you."
  • ...so the shopping carts will probably try to discourage you from buying Apples.
  • ...meaning someone can set up a laptop outside the store and find out all the prescriptions that people are having filled.

    On a less paranoid note, I wonder if they'll make it user friendly. Ever try scanning multiple items at self serve checkouts in places like Home Depot? If you want to buy about 2 dozen 1/2" SS worm gear hose clamps, be prepared to scan 2 dozen hose clamps one at a time.....
  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Friday February 18, 2005 @11:40PM (#11719890)
    "The company even suggests that customers might upload a shopping list to the store's website before leaving home, and then download the list to the shopping cart upon arriving at the store."

    Sounds like more work than doing what I do now, which is print out the running list we have on our main computer. I can then easily go down the list, crossing things off as I put them in the cart.

    So why would I, or anyone else, use a system that is more work than how I manage the task now? Sure it might benefit the store; but why is it so hard for some business people to realize that customers aren't going to adopt a new system that provides no benefit to said customers?

    (As an aside, it's not just business people that refuse to learn this lesson. I've been forced to put together web systems that end up unused because the "client" - usually a faculty member, but sometimes my computing manager - just can't grok that concept. Sheesh, try talking to your end users / customers about what would benefit them before deciding how something should work.)

  • I write up my shopping list at the last minute, and I rarely stick to it. It gets thrown away immediately upon getting home. Why invest so much money in an electronic version of something so casual and disposable?

    I think the comments about mapping store traffic are the most plausible explanation. Perhaps they'll finally put the frozen foods just past the refrigerated ones so people don't have to walk all the way back to pick up ice cream before leaving. Some stores are just laid out by morons.
  • by stienman (51024) <adavis.ubasics@com> on Saturday February 19, 2005 @12:12AM (#11720083) Homepage Journal


    clippy: (In a loud voice) I see you're buying hemmoroid cream. Would you also like to purchase Tucks(tm)?

    clippy: I notice you're buying a lot of antihistamine products. Would you like me to take you to the facial tissue aisle, or would you like a new meth recipe?

    clippy: You're passing a great sale on bright red lipstick. Are you sure you want to pass this opportunity up? Buy some for the kids! It also makes a great marker for the person who keeps taking your parking spot.

    -Adam
  • Finally, we can get p0rn pop ups on shopping carts. Just the distraction I need to take my mind off my fat, smelly, ignorant, sweatsuit wearing, moronic fellow shoppers at Walmart.
  • Hah, all those shopping carts that you have to plug will soon be obsolete.
  • All Your Cart Are Belong to Us.
  • by Thoguth (203384)
    We used windows CE devices for walkabout price scanning / stocking / shipping apps at a place I once worked (a large retail chain) On any given day, about half of the chain would place help desk calls because of gimpy client/server connectivity at the OS level.

    We got the impression it was mostly on the server side, though, so maybe a well-engineered WinCE app interfacing with a "real" unix/mini-mainframe store server would have a chance of not barfing andll over the place and die while a user was scanning
  • All we have to do now is find a way to get linux installed on these puppies and hook up a keyboard, and shopping carts will be an even more indispensible tool for homeless people than they already were.
  • "The company even suggests that customers might upload a shopping list to the store's website before leaving home, and then download the list to the shopping cart upon arriving at the store."

    Why stop there? Why not just have people send a list of what they want, and then when they get there they pay for it and just take it (prebagged) into their car. Boom, no more need to worry about having displays, samples, etc. People just tell you what they want, and then pick it up. You could even take it further
  • by Nik Picker (40521) on Saturday February 19, 2005 @05:25AM (#11721222) Homepage
    Okay , im speaking here from the point of view of all UK shoppers, especially the experience of Tescos.

    You go into the store, and are carefully guided and directed up and down and around the aisles your ears assaulted by many multimedia adverts selectively displaying the choice supplemented goodies in the aisle of your choice. Your constantly distracted from the choices your trying to make or the effort of finding the item on your list.

    When complete your cart is pushed towards one of 30 ( maybe more ) tills. now you have to locate and define the correct till for your shopping choices. Basket only ? express lane ? wide till ? 5 items or less ? cash only the choices go on .....

    Now finnally you unpack, repack , and wait to pay.... here, and here I say is where my blood really boils , is where you cannot possibly leave until youve answered the instore 20 questions before payment is taken..

    [till clerk :] do you have a store card ? no would you like on e ? but you get x% off or points ? are you sure ... okay okay ill take that throbbing vein as a no ...

    Would you like school vouchers, petrol vouchers, sports voucers, money off vouchers ? sir sir sir , no sir put down the bread stick ......

    How will you be paying ? cash ? oh dear thats a little difficult ive not been trained how to count ! .. how about card ? okay good ?

    would you like cash back ? do you have vouchers ? did i mention the store card ? ...

    okay do you know your pin, good ? could you enter the card pin note this fixed openly visible pin taking device enables the whole world to see you pin number ( please ignore the cctv trained to the overhead view of this till , yes it can see you pin also ! ). okay sir thanks for your pin... have a nice day ?

    [end]

    You know what I really want from a shopping experience ?

    I go in , i put the items in the cart, i unpack, pack and pay and just leave ... no questions, no blaring adverts no constant changing of locations and product layout and no annoying after purchase snail mail spam ......

    Could those stores possibly save on the bottom line if instead of finding new ways to get between the customers and the purchase they just let you buy and go ?

    okay rant over, nothing to see here , move along now !

    • Well, the experience in my local Tescos (plural - there are two!) is not as adventurous as that but I know the feeling.

      Once upon a time I inherited an iPAQ 3970 PDA and I downloaded a shopping list app for it but the reality doesn't lead up to the expectation - for one, it's hard to push a trolley AND hold a PDA - at least a piece of paper curves round the trolley handle as you push - you daren't put the PDA in the trolly or on teh child seat unless someone grabs it (paranoid? me?), so you effectively beco
    • If there's any way to get more information out of you they will; even at the cost of delaying you or even losing you as a customer forever.

      You're buying worthless stuff annyway. Why should they care about you?

      They never believe that you could go anywhere else anyway. They never believe in giving you any choice (not about product but about their own processes.)

      CRM is less about the customer or the relationship than it is about the management. And if that takes too long, too friggin' bad.

      "And have a nice
  • Free fooooood!
  • We had these in supermarkets about 7 or 8 years ago, you scanned each item as you put it in your shopping cart. You could see what you had bought and you could keep track of your total bill. This could easily be brought up to date using RFID etc.

    At the end of the shopping trip you re-docked your scanner in a bank, which printed out a ticket wich you paid for.

    They were pulled after about 3 years of use, I don't know why, my guess is when people keep track of their shopping bill they buy less per trip - I
  • All your Orange juice belongs to us

    LOL
  • If it the same OS as on my IPAQ (think it is called mobile 2003 se) then it would be far to unstable for use in a place like that. My IPAQ often freezes or gets very slow, I think I have to use the soft reset button at least once pr week. And while that might be fine for a personal device(pacemaker excluded), I don't think it would cut it in a enviroment where you can't expect the user to have any knowledge about these things.

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