Transition to unmanned operation

Unmanned operation brings with it many benefits and new opportunities for retail services. In this article, we will summarize the procedures for the transition from traditional (assisted) sales to unmanned sales.

Unmanned operation means a sale in which the customer purchases and pays for the purchase completely without the assistance of a cashier, but it is not necessarily a condition that there are no other staff on the premises.

Unmanned operation can be divided into two main categories full unmanned operation and hybrid unmanned operation where sales are assisted by an attendant during defined hours and supplemented by unmanned operation during hours when the attendant is not available.

Hybrid unmanned operation is particularly suitable for areas that have business potential outside of opening hours with the assistance of an attendant. This situation is often seen in rural shops where staff are usually present for a few hours a day for a few days a week and the shop is closed for the rest of the week. With the Contio 24 hybrid unmanned operation, opening hours can be extended beyond normal opening hours. The Contio 24 unmanned system will ensure that customers with valid identification can enter the store premises, make purchases and complete payment at the self-service kiosk.

Necessary technological elements securing the store are an electronic lock responding to access by payment card, loyalty card or by reading a QR code from the Contio app. In this way, the user is authorized to enter, and then a traceable online camera recording is taken during the customer’s shopping experience. The third part is a self-service cashless checkout or kiosk where the customer loads the purchased items and pays for the entire purchase with a credit card.

Full unmanned operation works without long-term staff assistance, which only provides supply and cleaning work. In this mode it is necessary to have continuous remote access to the store. Contio 24 gives complete remote view and control of the store including online camera recording. All customer activities are recorded, both when entering the store and when handling the self-service checkout. Advanced recognition of people from CCTV footage is also an integral part of the system, helping to prevent the entry of unidentified customers. The Contio system also enables remote control of electronic devices, i.e. switching off or on individual electrical appliances.