Panasonic’s new shopping system automatically bags and tallies your bill

For some reason I hate everything about grocery shopping, but I must share this hate with others because companies like Amazon, and now Panasonic, are throwing a lot of tech at the problem. WSJ reports that Panasonic is working on a checkout setup for convenience stores that will scan items as you place them into your basket, and then automatically bag it all up for you at checkout so that all you have to do is pay.

Last week, Amazon revealed its own more frictionless convenience store pilot, with a location that lets shoppers simply walk out with whatever they want to purchase, for which they’re charged automatically via their Amazon account. This is only slightly more cumbersome, since you have to pay via cash or card before leaving, but Panasonic’s system has the benefit of being retailer agnostic, so that you won’t need Amazon credentials as is the case with Amazon Go.

The Panasonic system uses tags applied to the goods you pick up to tally the cost as you shop, and then automatically bags your selections via a trap-door in the counter that accepts your basket when you’re ready to go. it could help with lines, and could also help address some of the issues with current self-checkout systems, which require a user to scan their own items to determine their bill prior to paying. That added step may seem small, but it actually causes a lot of headaches and hangups, especially with shoppers who aren’t so comfortable with tech.

Panasonic’s setup is already in use at a Lawson convenience store near its Osaka HQ, but the broader rollout is still a while off. My ideal shopping situation is one where I just think of the things I need and they appear in my refrigerator or whatever, but this is a step closer to that, at least, so hopefully we’re not waiting too long.