Is RFID the missing piece in the scan-and-go jigsaw?

Scan-and-go checkout technology is now firmly on the retail radar, thanks to the launch of Amazon Go in 2018. If grocers don’t have a trial underway in select stores right now, it seems they’re either scoping one out, or watching intently from the side lines to see how their competitors progress. And the trend is spreading to other retail segments as well.

One of the biggest advantages Amazon has in the race to achieve a fully seamless checkout experience is that it doesn’t have a legacy store estate. This means it can start from scratch, integrating all the necessary technology into its fledgling store estate. Conventional retailers, however, must scratch their heads and consider the best way to retrofit scan-and-go tech into a store built around a traditional format.

Searching for scan-and-go success

The challenges aren’t insurmountable, however. If you walk into certain branches of Tesco, Co-op, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose you can see the checkout-free format in action. Nike’s New York flagship store also allows in-aisle app payment and there are rumours that it’s coming to the brand’s Oxford Street store. But that’s not to say any one retailer has perfected it just yet — finding a solution that is cost-effective, glitch-free, customer-centric and, perhaps most importantly of all, capable of tackling ‘shrinkage’.

This has led industry analysts to question whether RFID is the missing link in the scan-and-go jigsaw. This idea is also the driving force between a recent collaboration between long-time RFID specialists Nedap and scan-and-go start-up MishiPay.

Nedap and MishiPay collaboration

MishiPay already has its self-checkout solution deployed in branches of French DIY retailer Leroy Merlin, Austrian cashier-free consumer electronics store Saturn Express and fashion retailer Mango’s most profitable store. But thanks to an integration with Nedap’s !D cloud RFID system, retailers can now enable customers to pay using the MishiPay app which then communicates with Nedap’s RFID system, ensuring paid-for items don’t trigger an alarm at the exit.

Jeroen Struycken, director of business development at Nedap Retail, said: ‘When using traditional EAS systems, it is not possible to implement mobile payment solutions and at the same time secure products. Nedap’s cloud-based RFID platform makes it possible to secure products when using mobile self- checkout solutions like MishiPay.  Instantly after payment is completed, items will no longer alarm at the exit. With the recently completed integration between Nedap’s !D Cloud and MishiPay, the combined solution now works out-of-the-box.’

RFID has so much to offer

Of course, shrinkage protection isn’t the only benefit of RFID, Struycken added: ‘Our cloud-based RFID solutions enable our customers to unlock their full omnichannel potential, minimise shrinkage, optimise the on-shelf availability and create seamless check-out experiences. Nedap enables customers to shop everywhere and return anywhere, checkout anywhere in store, increase sales and boost customer loyalty. Our mission is to make it simple for retailers to always have the right products available. Our solution is easy to use and can be quickly scaled up to cover thousands of stores.’

As retailers’ cashier-free pilot schemes progress and their transformation teams pore over data, weighing up the automation-led savings, effects on customer loyalty/sales and the impact on shrinkage levels, it will be interesting to see to what extent RFID proves pivotal to the development of the scan-and-go store.


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