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How are computers used in supermarkets?

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Quick Answer

Supermarkets have computer systems for receiving payments during checkout, recording sales and keeping customer information. In addition, computers are used in surveillance systems, customer service and other administrative functions.

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Full Answer

Through computer systems, cashiers in supermarkets are able to accept payment methods in addition to cash, such as credit card and mobile. Scanner systems and spreadsheet software also record sold goods automatically to save time and effort that are usually required for manual inventory keeping. Some supermarkets also feature self-serve scanning systems in which customers can go through checkout without the need of cashiers. Modern systems are capable of scanning items through pattern and color recognition, rendering bar codes obsolete.

To help boost sales and profit, supermarkets use computers to gather customer data. Computers can identify items that customers regularly buy, how often customers shop and which loyalty cards they have. Supermarkets use these collected data to create profiles that can help tailor vouchers, deals and advertisements. Customer profiles can also give an approximation of the success of promotions and events.

Computer systems for surveillance are also common features in supermarkets. For instance, supermarkets attach electronic circuits or electromagnetic tags to their merchandise. Unless they're deactivated upon purchase of the merchandise, these small attachments emit signals and cause sensors nearby the exit to sound their alarm. Security systems also make use of cameras and security bars.

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