- Grocery chain Meijer is expanding a test of a scan-and-go mobile app to help customers cut down on checkout times in stores, according to a press release. The Shop & Scan program will begin rolling out to other Meijer stores in the coming weeks and will be available at all 235 locations by the end of the summer.
- With the app, customers can scan product bar codes and bag their groceries as they move through the store. Once they're done shopping, customers scan their smartphone at a self-checkout lane to pay before leaving.
- Meijer in November started testing the Shop & Scan service at several stores in Michigan. Since then, more than 12,000 customers have downloaded the free app, which is available for download in Apple's App Store or Google Play.
Consumers often identify the checkout experience as being the most inconvenient and unenjoyable part of the shopping process, leading many grocers and retailers to adopt alternatives, such as self-checkout, scan-and-go and mobile checkout features. Meijer is among the chain stores that are beginning to adopt mobile technology to make in-store shopping easier to compete with e-commerce rivals like Amazon that are pushing into the grocery space with automation and other convenience-focused features. Kroger in January announced a similar "Scan, Bag, Go" service that will be expanded this year to 400 stores.
Amazon in January opened up its first cashierless test store, Amazon Go, to the general public after testing it with employees. The following month, it started offering two-hour delivery to certain members of its Prime subscription program from some Whole Foods locations. Not to be outdone, Walmart also began testing a personal shopping service and Scan & Go mobile checkout app, with plans for more cashierless stores in the future.
The evolution of cashierless stores will continue to evolve as retailers seek to avoid domination by giants like Amazon and Walmart while providing customers with more convenient in-store experiences. So far, cashierless checkout has been a bit slow to develop due to high upfront investments and complex technology. Amazon discovered in its Go pilot that its tracking technology initially couldn't handle more than two dozen shoppers in the store, per Retail Customer Experience.
Consumer adoption and expectations are a separate hurdle, especially among older generations that typically adopt emerging tech later than younger consumers. But in the long run, retailers are likely to continue investing in the technology to cut operating costs in an industry dealing with thin margins. As more consumers become increasingly comfortable with mobile payments and nontraditional checkout options, the "store of the future" model by grocers and retailers may see major growth in the years to come with its added convenience and friction-free experience.