POS Company Sitoo Offers RFID Purchasing with SML

Published: March 25, 2024

Self-checkout technology to speed shoppers through their payments has seen fits and starts for retailers.

While supermarkets and general merchandise stores have deployed self-service terminals at large scale, some have since taken a step back on the self-scanning service in recent months.

Technology companies Sitoo and SML see a future in self-checkout, using RFID technology, in a more nuanced approach with sales associate-assisted payment terminals. The goal is a system that automates the capture of product information, but with the oversight and support of humans employed at the store.

Sitoo, a cloud-native, point-of-sale platform provider, and RFID company SML are offering a streamlined checkout solution intended to improve customer satisfaction and increase sales due to reduced waits. The solution being offered not only uses RFID tags for payments, but to create a shopping experience that leverages the omni-channel model today’s shoppers are accustomed to.

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Seamless Shopping

“Shopping should be simple and seamless,” said Sitoo’s chief expansion officer, Isabell Aakervik. “We know that today’s shopping is cross-channel, and the key to a seamless cross-channel experience is real-time data across all sales channels.”

To achieve this, Sitoo offers its Unified Commerce Platform to unify all stores and online sales channels for a retailer including physical stores and e-commerce in real time.

RFID technology has been around for decades, but retailers are increasingly finding it useful for inventory management and other in-store functionality.

Sitoo is built with an API-first approach which enables its platform to integrate with other third-party solutions like SML Clarity RFID Software.

“This modern, composable approach is massively different compared to older, legacy POS systems which were clunky, isolated and weren’t built to be integrated with other pieces of software or hardware,” said Aakervik.

Sitoo, SML Marriage

Sitoo and SML teamed up to develop the integrated solution last year.

Many retailers are already using RFID technology on their products for item-level tracking and conducting stock counts. This data is utilized for operations like online purchases picked up in-store, markdowns and returns.

Building the RFID data into the point-of sale solution enables a retailer to gain other details such as combatting fraudulent returns. “For instance, if someone tries returning blue medium t-shirts that were never sold, our system can flag it,” Aakervik said.

The software can update the status of an item that is being sold or returned, automatically, so that a store’s entrance gates can detect whether a product is sold and only sound an alert when appropriate.

RFID Advantages

The use of RFID at checkout can combat some of the challenges around traditional check-out stations as well, she pointed out.

“Unlike traditional barcode scanning, RFID tags eliminate human error, ensuring accurate and efficient readings. It significantly streamlines the checkout process by minimizing friction and improving efficiency,” said Aakervik, adding the use of RFID enhances loss prevention by automatically adjusting inventory.

This solution is geared towards aiding customers in inventory management, operational efficiency, loss prevention, and enhancing customer experiences.

“Together, we’re involved in some super interesting projects that we believe will set industry benchmarks,” said Aakervik.

Associate Assisted Checkout

SML already offers its Clarity RFID Software in-store system, which is in use by retailers, said Dean Frew SML Group’s president of RFID solutions. Sitoo’s customers include Rally House, Georg Jensen and Levi’s.

By partnering with Sitoo, SML intends to help retailers offer associate-assisted checkout as an alternative to self-checkout systems.

Typically, a store could mount RFID readers at the point of sale counters, and shoppers would place their selected items on the counter or in a receptacle where the RFID tags on each item is automatically read. The software then populates the purchases in a basket for the shopper and is approved with the help of a sales associate.

Shoppers then provide their payment and may leave the store with their purchases. When it comes to returns, an RFID reader could be used to identify the goods being returned, confirm that they were purchased from that retailer, and could also then be returned to the store’s inventory.

Turnkey Integration

While some retailers are already using RFID technology as part of their POS service, the integration of RFID and purchasing software was typically built for that deployment.

Frew commented that in this case, with the Sitoo partnership, “that’s already integrated together” for the retailer.

Users are typically apparel and footwear retailers that are using RFID technology and may already be using Sitoo’s POS platform. Or they may be looking for a future proofing solution to enhance the employee’s and customer’s experience with the Sitoo platform, Aakervik added.

“It’s a perfect marriage for us by providing the [RFID] data into the point-of-sale system,” Frew said.

Thus far a European retailer is deploying the integrated solution at more than one location, but has asked to be unnamed.

Striking a Balance

SML is finding many of its customers indicate they want to strike a balance between technology and human interaction in their stores.

“We’ve got a lot of customers that do not want to lose the connection with the consumer they want their people interacting with the customer. Because of that, I think we’re going to see a growing interest in associate assisted RFID checkout,” Frew said.

From a Sitoo perspective, “the technology space is really exciting because the potential is so huge,” said Aakervik. “Stores are becoming way more than just stores—they’re everything from showrooms to fulfillment centers—and when they’re powered by best-of-breed tech they become the heart and soul of successful retail.”

Key Takeaways:
  • Sitoo and SML partnership will provide fully integrated solution for RFID enabled point of sale in stores.
  • Retailers can use the solution as a sales associate assisted payment system to make shopping transactions faster, but still including a human connection.