The world’s biggest electronics store uses NFC tags to let shoppers self-checkout on their mobile phones

Scanning smart shelf-edge labels in a Saturn store
SATURN: Smart product labels allow consumers to add items to their basket via NFC

MediaMarktSaturn, Europe’s largest consumer electronics retailer, is piloting a mobile self-checkout service that lets customers add products to their shopping basket by tapping the NFC tag included in the digital price tags of more than 100,000 products on sale at its Hamburg city centre store.

“Lengthy queues at the checkout cost customers time and retailers money,” the retailer says. “Over the past 12 months alone, the European retail sector has suffered losses estimated at €34bn (including €6.7bn in Germany) because customers couldn’t face the long wait at the checkout.

“To shorten waiting times for its customers, Saturn has been trialling new mobile self-checkout services since the beginning of the year. And it’s now introduced payment by smartphone throughout an entire German store for the first time using a system called Saturn Smartpay.”

“Apart from just a few exceptions, the more than 100,000 products in the biggest consumer electronics store in the world can be picked up and paid for.”

“Scanning and paying for products with Saturn Smartpay is child’s play,” the retailer adds. “Customers just open the app, choose and scan the items they want, pay with their smartphone, and have the security tags deactivated at the Smartpay express counter at the store’s exit.

“The Smartpay app can be downloaded onto Android and iOS devices in the respective app stores. Registration is quick and easy. Then the barcode or the electronic shelf label of the item desired can be scanned using a smartphone’s camera or alternatively the digital price tag can be touched by an NFC-enabled smartphone to log the item.

“Once the shopping cart is full, customers can pay by credit card or PayPal, and from mid-December also by Google Pay. Apple Pay will also be integrated following its official launch in Germany. Having paid, customers receive their digital receipt by email. All they have to do now is have the security tags of their purchases deactivated at the Smartpay express counter before walking out of the store.”