Decathlon's smart checkout for ultra-fast payments: how does the basket recognize the products?

Decathlon’s smart checkout for ultra-fast payments: how does the basket recognize the products?

Put all the products in the checkout basket and the price automatically appears on the display. Goodbye lines and gatherings

Many of those who recently made a purchase from Decathlon have been able to experience the “Smart speakers” which were installed in all stores between 2019 and the end of 2021. They are needed for pay quickly avoiding queues and gatherings: placing more products in the tray under the payment station, the total price appears instantly on the display, without having to pass the scanner over the barcode of each item purchased.
After trying these speakers, the intrigued customer inevitably wonders how they work. In reality, there is no precision scale that weighs the products by the microgram – as some have hypothesized – and not even cameras that recognize the type and code of the products.

Payments with … radio waves

“It all depends on a radio wave system which makes the sensors mounted in the basket with labels placed inside or around the product wrapping », he explains Stefano Bonomi, Area Operation Manager of Decathlon who for years has been working on the RFID project, the technology of automatic remote information detection and storage that occurs precisely through radio frequencies. The RFID system therefore allows you to uniquely detect both static and moving objects, to produce information on their movements and exchange them in real time. “When we became aware that lost time in the checkout line had become a problem for customers, we have implemented traditional automatic checkouts and now smart baskets. There is at least one in each of the Italian outlets. Just place the products in the basket because are recognized by the fund that produces the total amount to be paid: the system in fact allows the reading of the “smart RFID labels” present inside all our products which have a passive silicon core (which therefore does not need to be powered), whose magnetic field is crossed by the RFID system ». Then just swipe your credit card and that’s it: this allows you to give your customers a quick and even exciting checkout experience. «Their reaction in front of the smart basket is always of strong surprise and curiosity“.

Soon goodbye to the cash desk

What will happen in the future? “In some of our stores across Europe, we are testing a faster and more effective payment solution, which can be linked to the phase of sale and that does not necessarily include the barrier of the cash desks before leaving the store»Concludes Stefano Bonomi. «In fact, in short, the customer will be able to make the payment directly to the collaborator who recommended him, thanks to the use of one smartphone with integrated RFID reader, making collection and exit operations even easier and faster. We will test this solution in Italy in 2023 ». And not only that: there is another project that for the moment is only being tested in France – the Decathlon GO store – which allows a checkout experience through an opening that instantly reads the RFID tags that pass through it, triggering the payment by credit card and the immediate shipment of the invoice by email.

01 September

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