Technology Review: Cash Registers

9 Jun

Before Japan, I had never seen so many different variations of cash registers. When I was thinking of a topic for my technology review, I couldn’t come up with anything. Then I went shopping one day and realized that at almost store I’d been to (convenience, department store, shoe store), most of the cash registers differed.

In America, you will also find that many stores have different cash registers based on appearance, but not so much in function. In Japan, you will find that they not only differ in appearance, but also in functionality. The most common registers I have seen were the style that could be found most at convenience stores. The functions and features are pretty much standard for a cash register. However, it has two screens: one for the clerk and one for the customer to view. Before making my purchase, I noticed there were ads on the screen that was made for my view. As the clerk began to ring my purchases, the ads would stay on and it would show the price for each item in the bottom right corner. As your sale is almost complete, it will show your total amount due and then change you should expect after you pay.

There are also registers with a unique system for paying for your items. At most stores, you will find a pad attached to the register, in plain view for the customer. Instead of giving your credit card to the sales clerk, you can just scan your card over the pad and it will receive all of your information. You can also use other devices such as your cell phone, if you have the QR code from your account on your phone. This system makes the shopping experience more time efficient and I would think make more customers at ease, knowing that they were the only person handling their credit card.

While we were in Osaka, I stopped by a store to purchase gym shoes and was amazed the whole time she was ringing up my item. Instead of a regular cash register, where the sales clerk did much of the work, this register did almost everything for her. All she had to do was scan my item and then input the money I handed to her. The machine counted how much money she put in and dispensed my change. She didn’t have to worry about counting any money. I think this would be ideal for most stores because they can reduce miscounts and shortages due to human error.

I would have never expected to see this in a clothing store. I think that if innovations such as these continue, grocery stores will not be the only places with self-check out lanes. Soon, you may be able to shop at your favorite clothing or shoe store and ring up all of the items on your own. I think this could succeed in these types of stores because sales clerk could then focus more on sales floor and customer issues. With the extra attention, companies would hopefully be able to reduce shortages due to theft.

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