In the past decade, evolving technology has caused the number of consumers shopping in- person to dwindle. Now, it’s pulling people back into the stores.
In a world with a powerful technology presence, consumers are becoming increasingly entranced by “quick and easy”. In the retail industry, this translates to fewer people coming into stores and more online shopping. As stated in a 2019 study done by Big Commerce,
- 95% of Americans shop online at least yearly
- 80% of Americans shop online at least monthly
- 30% of Americans shop online at least weekly
- 5% of Americans shop online daily
But technology may be evolving to pull population back into the stores. The implementation of “scan & go” technology is making waves in the retail world. In essence, this enhanced shopping experience is designed to cut out the middle man: the cashier. Customers use their mobile phones or physical scanners to scan their items as they shop and eliminate the hassle of a checkout process at the end.
Sam’s Club says 80 percent of its members who use scan & go technology use it again within 90 days. On top of that, its scan & go transactions have doubled this year.
This new system comes with several advantages, including increased employee versatility, customer control, and cheaper installation.
With fewer employees occupied by the duties of a cashier, they’re free to carry out higher cognitive tasks. This is critical for stores looking to increase worker efficiency as they battle rising wages.
Customers, on the other hand, take on more responsibility in this shift, which they appreciate. Walmart customer Kari Malinak affirms, “I can’t stand it when they bag my produce. It gets all bruised. I like to have control. And I like the quick and easy aspect.” Additionally, customers are able to keep track of their total as they’re shopping to avoid overspending.
And finally, it’s a relatively cheap system to install. There’s no special equipment to manufacture- just app and scanner development.
However, with any system there are drawbacks, and there are a few obstacles that come with implementing scan & go technology.
The first, and most prevalent, is the barrier of downloading the app. While some stores have physical scanner tablets available for use, many stores employ an online app. This app needs to be downloaded on the customer’s personal device before shopping, which is often the biggest roadblock.
This is accompanied by the discomfort of getting used to a new system. Especially for less technologically savvy customers, it may take some time to grow accustomed. Stores face the risk of customers running into an initial inefficient period while they’re trying to figure the system out, and giving up on it altogether. Finally, stores must be especially cautious about possible theft. Stores with an online app check digital receipts, but without a cashier mediating the checkout process, it’s possible for customers to sneak items into their bag without scanning them.
If you have any questions or would like to learn more about this topic, please reach out to the NewPoint team. If you are interested in more food marketing topics, please visit our Food for Thought page or check out NewPoint’s Patrick Nycz’s book: Moving Your Brand Up the Food Chain.