While traveling in the US over the past couple of weeks I was fortunate to visit a number of retail stores and have a first hand look at some banners that aren’t established in Canada. It was an enjoyable opportunity to see how technology is being leveraged a little differently.
One retailer I found particularly interesting was Aldi. I had heard from some industry colleagues that they had very quick throughput through their front end in Europe and I took some time to take a first hand look at one of their US stores.
As their website indicates, they print multiple barcodes in various orientations around the items to allow checkout clerks to scan items quickly, with minimal presentation of any item to the scanner.
This very simple idea allows product to be hurled over scanners one after the other with a positive read. Aldi is able to drive this packaging requirement as most of their product are private brands. That said, I’m a little surprised that some of the bigger players haven’t tried to force the CPG folk to attempt the same strategy. Full credit to Aldi for recognizing that while having the right technology at the front end, the other side of the equation – the barcode itself – can be influenced. Rather than considering this an IT issue, it’s been taken on as a business solution.