Embracing the Touchless Innovation in Retail

The world is moving swiftly towards a touchless era due to the desire for better user experiences and hygiene concerns that persist even after COVID-19. The touchless economy is setting new standards across various sectors, including retail. However, this transformation entails more than just adopting new technologies; it requires rethinking layouts, consumer traffic, and minimizing contact between staff and customers. This article will explore the touchless revolution in retail and its implications for businesses and consumers.

The benefits of touchless solutions for businesses and customers are numerous. For companies, implementing contactless retail solutions can lead to improved operational efficiency, reduced overhead expenses, seamless omnichannel experiences, competitive differentiation, technology integration opportunities, the ability to retain existing customers with loyalty programs, and offering personalization to customers. For customers, touchless solutions can avoid long queues, make quick and easy payments, save time, shop securely, and experience lower checkout times. By embracing this transformation, businesses can future-proof their operations and cater to their customer’s evolving needs and expectations.

The Changing Landscape:

Industries such as travel, transportation, banking, hospitality, offices, and parking lots are redesigning their spaces to accommodate touchless interactions. In addition, architectural firms like The Manser Practice are leading the way by envisioning post-pandemic hotels that prioritize limited interaction between staff and guests, implementing touchless check-in and smartphone-operated doors. These trends indicate that touchless solutions will persist even after the pandemic subsides.

Seamless Experience from Start to Finish:

Xhockware has introduced Touchless technology that eliminates the need for physical touchscreens and traditional checkout processes. This technology allows customers to enjoy a more convenient and hygienic shopping experience. Upon arrival at the checkout, customers can scan the QR code displayed using their smartphone to initiate the touchless journey. Through the Xhockware mobile app, customers can conveniently select the desired items and quantities right from their phones, eliminating the need to touch the self-checkout screen. Once shopping is complete, customers can securely pay directly from the app, making the process quick, easy, and touchless. This innovative technology is a great way to avoid unnecessary physical contact and embrace the future of retail.

Capacity Reduction Challenges: 

Conventional stores need to be more adequate to cater to the demands of the touchless economy. Modernizing the front-office checkout lines is necessary to serve the present dynamic requirements better. The need for increased space between queues and maintaining social distancing presents significant challenges for retailers. Reducing density at checkouts may lead to longer lines, necessitating a thoughtful approach to expanding queue space while ensuring social distance compliance.

Consumer Demand for Touchless Experiences: 

Consumers expect minimal contact between themselves and the store during their shopping journey. This expectation extends beyond human contact and includes touchless queue systems, checkouts, touchscreens, and payment terminals. Gartner predicts that by 2024, 80% of ordering and replenishment processes will be touchless for most organizations.

Research also shows that 87% of US shoppers prefer stores with touchless or robust self-checkout options. Consumer preferences are shifting, and organizations need to adapt to remain competitive.

Creating Competitive Imbalance: 

Retailers who embrace touchless automation, in-store and in their warehouses, gain a clear competitive advantage. These retailers can differentiate themselves in the market by minimizing risks to consumers, employees, and overall operations. While price remains important, the touchless environment and enhanced sanitation are emerging as crucial factors shaping consumers’ perception of value. Retailers must understand this change to navigate the new competitive landscape effectively.

Implementing Touchless Solutions:

To successfully implement touchless solutions, businesses must prioritize security, functionality, and user experience. Robust security measures are crucial, such as unique QR codes for one-time sessions, SSL encryption, and limited direct connections between users and equipment. Moreover, context-aware operation and integration with existing systems through provided SDKs can enhance functionality while ensuring a seamless transition.

Embracing Touchless Experiences to Succeed in the Retail Industry:

The touchless revolution is reshaping the retail industry, presenting challenges and opportunities. By prioritizing touchless experiences, retailers can meet evolving consumer demands and gain a competitive edge. As we embrace the touchless world, we must rethink layouts, optimize consumer traffic, and minimize contact between staff and customers. By leveraging the right technologies and understanding the changing consumer landscape, businesses can navigate this transformation successfully and thrive in the touchless economy.

Text written by:

Olli-Veikko Möttönen

Xhockware Market Analist

AI in Retail: Revolutionizing the Shopping Experience

Imagine walking into a grocery store, DIY store, or any other retail store where every purchase you make is supported by artificial intelligence making your shopping experiences more enjoyable, efficient, and convenient. Or, if you are a retail merchant, and get detailed and personalized customer feedback, and stay accurately updated on inventory. Luckily, this futuristic thinking is coming to reality sooner than expected.

According to Fortune Business Insights, AI in the retail market will be experiencing significant growth, driven by its ability to enhance personalization, optimize inventory management, and improve customer experience. As a result, retailers are embracing AI technologies to gain a competitive edge and meet the changing demands of consumers.

1.What will be the role of AI in retail and how is it transforming the shopping experience?

AI can significantly improve business decision-making, increase efficiency, and ultimately lead to sustainable long-term growth for the business.
The advancements in artificial intelligence have opened new possibilities for automation in various industries, which can potentially lead to increased efficiency and productivity. In retail, this means that AI is capable of:

  • Noticing inventory levels
  • Detecting customer habits and behavior in the store
  • Personalize shopping experiences for the customer
  • Faster payment transactions without needing a cashier
  • Demand forecasting and inventory management
  • Fraud detection and security
  • Pricing optimization
  • Visual recognition and augmented reality

These principles have already been used, for instance, Amazon smart grocery uses a network of sensors and AI technology. This technology utilizes an interconnected system of sensors and AI technology to monitor customers’ shopping activities in real time. This advanced system accurately tracks the items customers add or remove from their baskets as they move throughout the store. When customers are finished shopping, their connected accounts are automatically charged for the things they selected. This seamless checkout process eliminates the need for traditional cashier interactions, providing a convenient and efficient shopping experience. Some are showing concerns about what this means for consumers’ privacy. Can a customer make the purchase without being analyzed in every detail? – French retailer Carrefour does is without accessing individual information of the customer. Instead, an avatar of the customer in that store is created.

This avatar is not linked to the actual person’s identity. French multinational Retailer launched its own smart checkout system that uses cameras and scanners to monitor what customers choose to take from the shelf. A customer does not need to create an account or set up an account linked to a credit card or bank account. Simply, customers are tracked anonymously as virtual avatars. Carrefour’s “Flash 10/10” was implemented for the first time in Paris.

2.Enhancing customer experience through AI

AI is capable of customer service in many ways and will improve continuously. It can be interactive chat meaning building interactive chat programs to enhance customer service and engagement. Chatbots have already been invented, but now with a mix of AI are more effective in giving versatile answers to customers’ needs and concerns. AI can recognize facial expressions and biometric and audio cues to engage customers’ emotions. Customers can benefit from the support of an AI-powered conversational assistant that can guide them seamlessly through inquiries, resolve issues through troubleshooting, and provide answers to frequently asked questions. Should the need arise, the assistant can also connect customers with a human expert for additional assistance.

Customer personalization and insights are significantly easier to get from AI’s data based on customer preferences, feedback, and emotional satisfaction in the store. With these results, AI can suggest the right product displays, pricing, and other services through biometric promotions. In addition, AI algorithms can understand customer purchase patterns, social media behavior, or how a person navigates the store for the products.

3.Leveraging AI in product assortment optimization and inventory management

Inventory management will be easier than ever with the help of AI. Artificial intelligence can forecast demand, use camera vision, and detect on-shelf stock levels using shelf sensors. For instance, our product, Shelfn, is designed to assist vendors in this manner. Smart shelves in use at stores provide real-time monitoring of product availability, allowing for swift restocking when needed before the product becomes unavailable.

This ensures that items are readily available and quickly replenished to meet customer demand, improving satisfaction. Artificial Intelligence-powered forecasts can significantly reduce supply chain errors, lost sales, and product unavailability. This is a game changer, and indeed, big retailers are already taking steps to implement AI to manage inventory levels.

4.AI-powered payment systems and fraud prevention

AI-powered payment systems utilize advanced algorithms and machine learning to detect and prevent fraudulent activities in real time. AI can identify anomalies and raise alerts for potential fraud by analyzing transaction data and customer behavior. These systems offer faster and more secure payment methods, leveraging tokenization, encryption, and biometric authentication. As a result, retailers benefit from streamlined transactions and enhanced security measures, ensuring a seamless and protected payment experience for customers. Implementing AI-powered payment systems is crucial for retailers to combat fraud while providing efficient and trustworthy payment services.

5.The role of AI in marketing and advertising

AI revolutionizes marketing and advertising strategies by targeting campaigns, analyzing customer behavior, and optimizing content. AI algorithms analyze customer data to create personalized campaigns, forecast trends, and optimize content for higher engagement. AI-powered marketing automation streamlines workflows, allowing marketers to focus on high-value tasks. AI-driven insights improve targeting, enhance customer understanding, and optimize strategies for maximum impact. Leveraging AI, empowers marketers to deliver personalized experiences, drive growth, and achieve better campaign performance.

For instance, Intelligent display ads leverage AI inferencing capabilities to gain insights into customer engagement and interests. By analyzing real-time data, these ads adapt and customize their content dynamically based on the audience’s preferences. With this feature, advertisers can provide more tailored and captivating content to users, enhancing customer satisfaction and increasing conversion rates.

You should hop on to this revolutionizing change.

In the realm of customer service, integrating artificial intelligence can revolutionize how retailers operate. By harnessing the power of AI, retailers can substantially enhance their customer’s satisfaction. Furthermore, by reducing wait times and ensuring round-the-clock availability, retailers can accomplish this transformation in customer service with the integration of artificial intelligence. In essence, AI in customer service can completely transform the dynamics of the retail industry by optimizing operations and elevating the overall customer experience. In the highly competitive retail landscape, both physical and digital stores must navigate challenging environments. To stay relevant, retailers can utilize AI to transform the consumer experience and gain a competitive edge. AI enables personalization and agility, optimizing inventory through demand forecasting. It empowers retailers to captivate customers with personalized and immersive experiences across all touchpoints.

By leveraging predictive analytics, retailers can lead with innovation and differentiate their products. AI also helps retailers extract valuable insights from disparate data sources and synchronize offline and online retail channels for a seamless shopping experience. Furthermore, it enables the development of flexible logistics networks to meet evolving consumer demands. Implementing AI in retail may seem complex, but retailers can navigate the process successfully with the appropriate guidance.

Embrace the AI revolution in retail and watch your business soar to new heights, delivering enhanced customer experiences and optimizing operations like never before.

Text written by:

Olli-Veikko Möttönen

Xhockware Market Analist

Self-Service Adoption in Retail: A Look into Europe

Self-service checkout technology has been revolutionizing the retail industry in European countries. However, like a rollercoaster ride, some countries have quickly jumped on board, while others are still hesitating. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic and safety regulations have played a role in the increased adoption of self-service checkouts in retail stores, not only in the food sector but also in other retail formats like DIY, just to name the notable example of one of our Clients, Leroy Merlin.

Factors Influencing the Adoption of Self-Service Checkout Technology in European Countries

Various factors influence the adoption of self-service checkouts, including political, demographical, cultural, economical, and technological infrastructure. For example, in some countries, customers prioritize speedy transactions over small talk with the cashier, while in others, the personal touch of human interaction is more valued.

Demographics also play a significant role in the adoption of self-service checkout technology. For example, the older generation may prefer traditional checkouts to interact with the cashier. On the other hand, the younger generation is more likely to embrace self-service options for quick and efficient transactions.

As with adopting any other innovative technology, each geography requires some time to adapt before the moment a relevant portion of individuals become regular users and adoption is generalized. The Diffusion of Innovation Theory can be used to demonstrate how the trend of self-service checkouts has innovators and early adopters, followed by the majority who adopt it and the laggards who are slow to adopt.

Now, these different factors can influence this theory. Political and regulatory factors can significantly impact the adoption of self-service checkout technology in retail. Technological development in other areas also plays a role in adopting self-service checkouts. Geographical factor has impacted adoption as well. In big cities, it is more common to have self-service checkouts in stores because these cities attract a younger population for studies, services, and jobs which is more likely to use any form of self services. Smaller towns and villages where the majority of people are older, are less likely to massively use them in the stores.

Adoption in European Countries Varies?

The availability and types of self services technology vary significantly across European countries. While some countries have implemented self-scanning solutions and mobile apps for shoppers, others rely mainly on self-service checkout within larger supermarkets. Surprisingly, some of the smallest retail stores in certain countries offer self-service checkouts, whereas, in other countries, they are mainly available in the largest supermarkets.

As consumer demand for convenience and efficiency continues to grow, self-service checkouts will likely become increasingly prevalent throughout all European countries.


More and more supermarkets in Germany are adopting self-service checkouts, but they still have some catching up compared to other leading countries like the UK, France, and the US. One exciting development is the use of mobile app technologies, which allow customers to scan and pay their items with their mobile devices, making shopping even more convenient. However, some challenges still need to be addressed, such as the importance of human customer service.

Despite these challenges, the trend of self-service checkouts is expected to continue growing in Germany as retailers aim to improve efficiency and enhance the customer experience. Retail giants like Kaufland, Aldi, and Lidl, which originated in Germany, are leading the way in implementing this technology in their stores across different countries, as they see it as a competitive advantage that reduces wait times and boosts efficiency. As technology evolves, retailers must continue investing in innovative ways to enhance the shopping experience, and self-service checkouts are here to stay and likely to shape the retail industry for years to come.


In France, one of the better adapted to self-services checkout technology, Scan & Go services are also becoming popular. Customers can self-scan items in-store using their mobile phones, which speeds up the purchasing process. As a result, more retailers in France are embracing self-service technology and implementing Scan & Go solutions. Even small stores are integrating Scan & Go apps, which are gaining popularity among customers.


Technology adoption in the retail industry is rising in Norway, with self-service checkouts, mobile payment systems, and digital signage being the most notable trends. Mobile payment systems such as Vipps and MobilePay have gained popularity, and digital signage is being used to enhance the in-store experience for customers. The adoption of technology in Norwegian retail is on par with other developed countries, although there are differences in the types of technology being adopted. Despite the challenges, such as cost and training, the trend is expected to continue to grow, and retailers will continue to invest in new technologies to improve the customer experience and increase efficiency. The future looks bright for technology adoption in Norwegian retail, and it will be exciting to see how retailers will continue to innovate and adapt to customers’ changing needs.


Looking into the adoption of self-service checkouts in Finland, it’s no different! In fact, the country’s biggest retail chains, S-group and Kesko, have been leading the charge in adopting these nifty machines. However, adoption has been slower compared to the UK, for instance.

But S-Group and Kesko have been steadily rolling out self-service checkouts in their stores, and now they can be found not just in the larger supermarkets but even in smaller stores too. It’s no surprise that they’re dominating the market, as they’re always looking for new ways to innovate and improve the shopping experience for their customers. Kesko and S-Group have implemented self-service suites even in smaller grocery stores. Self–scanning mobile apps are still a fresh idea, but bigger supermarkets like Prisma have already adopted self-scanning equipment in-store in bigger cities in Finland.


Portugal is no exception when it comes to the adoption of SCO. In recent years, many supermarket chains like Pingo Doce and Continente in Portugal have implemented self-service checkout systems, allowing customers to scan and pay for their items without needing a cashier. Fifteen years ago, research found that when the first self-checkouts were implemented in stores, even older people started to adopt this new technology and found it easy to use. However, the trend is broader than big supermarkets, as some smaller stores and other retail formats have begun implementing these systems. Self–scanning apps aren’t a new thing in Portuguese retail stores, but adoption didn’t really consolidate. Portuguese consumer has firmly embraced the benefits of self-service checkout systems, including efficiency and convenience. Self-service checkout systems will likely become even more prevalent in Portugal.


Self-service checkout systems are slowly but surely making their way into local stores in Romania, with local retail chain Mega Image leading. However, international retail giants such as Lidl, Kaufland, Auchan, and Carrefour have already leaped and implemented Self-service checkout systems within the Romanian retail market. Even Mega Image has joined in and adopted Self-service checkouts in some of their stores. Profi is coming behind with this trend but will indeed implement checkouts in the future. Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that self-checkout scanning, and apps are still relatively uncommon and unknown trends in the market.

Growth of Self-checkout technology

Self-service checkout technology has yet to be standardized across different countries, as it varies depending on their level of adaptation. Nevertheless, many businesses worldwide are realizing the benefits of this technology and are projected to utilize its potential throughout Europe fully. The growing popularity of self-checkout will be instrumental in assessing the efficiency of this technology’s implementation in each country. With significantly larger supermarkets, self-service checkout is becoming more widely used in Eastern countries.

Retail companies are also introducing this technology to smaller stores. In Western Europe, retailers are also adopting self-scanning apps and mixing them with self-service systems in order to offer more choice and convenience to consumers. Nonetheless, retail companies are also making efforts to introduce this technology to smaller stores. It is only a matter of time before it becomes the norm in all retail stores across Europe.

Text written by:

Olli-Veikko Möttönen

Xhockware Market Analist

Press Release – Xhockware


Porto, July 24, 2020

Xhockware announces today the launch of SmartCheckout Touchless, the self-service technology that allows Consumers to leave the store with their goods, without having to touch any checkout or payment devices used by other customers.

The preference recently expressed by 87% of American consumers, for stores with touchless and self-service systems, shows a natural reaction to the constraints posed by the pandemic. Not having to touch something that is touched by other people has become a priority, not only for consumers but also for store staff.

SmartCheckout Touchless allows the use of self-service checkout systems without the need to touch the store’s keyboards or touch screens, replacing these traditional interaction models by the smartphone, which thus controls the operation, eliminating all physical contact with the store systems. This technology is immediately accessible in all Xhockware self-service solutions and will also be available for integration with other manufacturers’ solutions.

João Carvalho
+351 968 045 019

RETAIL in the Post-COVID Era: new consumers, new competition

What happened during the crisis is about to become history. Sales losses have been mostly contextual: most stores simply were closed and, with very few exceptions, mobility restrictions imposed by the quarantine made it impossible for people to leave their homes and shop.
Therefore, I strongly believe that the significant increase in online sales in the last three to four months was primarily due to these contextual reasons, and although significant changes are coming to the industry, I don’t think this is the most significant of them. It’s reasonable to admit that the trends already seen before the pandemic, with online capturing each year more new sales than B&M, may eventually accelerate its pace, especially in the first Post-Covid19 months, but much more will change. Many Retail specialists are expressing views that are consistent with my conviction on this subject. Eventually, others may have contrary visions. We will all have to wait for more data to be available in the coming months, to better understand the reach of this phenomenon. (…)

Text written by
João Carvalho

To read the full article, click on the link to access the article on linkedin:


Xhockware and S&T sign Distribution agreement for the Polish market

Effective after May 2020, Xhockware and S&T Poland signed a partnership contract for the distribution of Xhockware’s Portfolio for Retail in the Polish territory.
Focused on the digitalization of the in-store Customer journey, our activities will be centered on our SmartCheckout platform, the robotized operator that nearly eliminates integration times and cost, our app collection for consumers and store personnel, and as well our cash and cashless Self-services suite, offering Self-checkout and payment stations in scalable solutions to fit any operational scenario and budget.

XHOCKWARE at Euroshop 2020

Once again, we headed to Duesseldorf for another edition of Euroshop. Following the intensive developments introduced to our self-services and mobility portfolio solutions during 2019, I was very curious to understand how our industry peers were preparing for the coming years and the intensive competition ahead. So this is a quick review of the points worth sharing with you.

The first visible evolution is on design and ergonomics. There’s no doubt that this is the element where manufacturers have put the majority of their effort and we see noticeable progress over recent years. I found many examples of this but would highlight Suzohapp and the ”organic” integration of their cash devices over the checkout, merging looks and function in a flawless way and giving the retailer a very interesting mix of options where technology never imposes itself to the store environment. Of significance also, is the impressive gains in performance and range in what regards the automation cash handing. This is more impressive if we compare both the cost and performance of today, with just three years ago, making it a perfect example of the laws of technology evolution over each years.

However, these evolutions also show an almost exclusive focus on the “product”, and a large convergence of common formulas that bring to my mind the words of Peter Goldberger in his influential New York Times article on Retail entitled “The sameness of things”:

While everything may be better it’s also increasingly the same

I think the main players are lacking a digitally integrated vision and the ability to offer Retailers the power to think or re-think the Customer journey, the consumer and the store personnel in the first place. Online, mobile and traditional are merging, at least in the minds of consumers, but we don’t see this reality being a priority of the Retail IT industry, which continues seeing stores as an aggregate of technological compartments.

While this certainly brings some disappointment, it also reinforces my view that we, at Xhockware, are heading in the right direction.

 A final word to our Compagnons de route and partners from Italy, SN Systems, with whom we shared stand G.65, to Suzohapp and CPI, our partners for cash systems and S&T, our Distributor for Poland.

Text written by
João Carvalho