14 April, 2009

Stop & Shop says Scan It!

Stop & Shop Supermarkets are offering a new in-store service they're calling Scan It! Users scan their shopping card at the entrance and pick up a hand-held Motorola MC17 scanner. With the scanner in hand, shoppers scan and bag their items as they wander the aisles. When you're done shopping, scan an "I'm finished shopping" barcode at the register, scan your shopping card again, and the MC17 transmits your shopping order to the register, which prints a receipt, asks for payment, and sends you on your way. Any register will accept input from the scanner, so you can pay at the staffed cashier checkout or at the self-service lanes according to your preference.

From my perspective as someone who really likes and is comfortable with technology: This is the cat's ass. As you shop, the big, bright screen gives you a running total (before any taxes) of your grocery order on the top line. You can also scroll through a list of what you've selected and bagged. Change your mind? No problem, just select "Remove," scan the item again, and it's taken off your list. You can also use it to check the price of an unticketed item by scanning the item's barcode. And because your scanner is linked to your shopping card when you activate it, the scanner will also offer you targeted advertising based on your prior shopping patterns - say you buy a lot of dog food, for example. The scanner might make a ka-ching! cash register noise and display a notice of a special discount on your favorite dog food.

But the best part is the time saved when checking out. Since all your items are pre-scanned and bagged, you can glide through the checkout station in seconds. On the Saturday before Easter, my local Stop & Shop was jammed, and lines at the checkouts were huge. But I checked out by going to the empty self-service lane, scanning my card, running my debit card through the pin pad, and walking out the door. I had a full order paid for and loaded in my car before other shoppers had even unloaded their carts for the cashier.

This is aces.


Stop and Shop Supermarkets

Scan It! at Stop and Shop

Motorola MC17 info from Gizmo Watch

IBM press release to the trade, touting the software they developed for shopping (note the Stop & Shop logo on the scanner screen in the photo.) This is a PDF file.


auntjone said...

I'm jealous! I probably won't see this in my grocery stores for another 5 years. I would LOVE to have a running total as I shop and be able to roll out the door as others are ploppin their stuff on the Belt that Leads to Hell.

fnord said...

It's very cool - we've had this in Sweden for a couple of years now, and as you say, it's an incredible improvement over having to run everything by the cashier. I don't know what I'd do if I went into a store today and had to stand in lines again.. :)

anutterNWOpuppet said...

Supermarket-style techno, free...looks like a "steal" to me.

Unknown said...

I saw this at Stop and Shop recently. It looks great for the shopper but I was wondering how they handle fraud. For example, shopper puchares 50 items, doesn't scan three expensive items, and leaves the store eith his purchase. They did say teat they have the right to audit the contents of the cart but this will not allow them to prosecute for fraud as the shopper can just claim device malfunction and intent to defraid could never be proven. I'm sure much thought went to into this before the tool was introducted but I was wondering if some has an explabntion for it. Maybe an expectation of additional theft versus cost saving to the store nets out to an advantage.



fordlady said...

This would be an asset to any store, especially here in So. California. We have the self- serve areas, but half the time they are not working. And tell me--- how come foreign countries always seem to have the technology before we do?
I would live to see my local supermarkets start this system and it might earn them some customer loyalty!