Progressive Grocer - June 2018 - 162

TECHNOLOGY

Mobile Apps

on the scene but logged into the app while shopping, a retailer can
cross-reference data to help law enforcement locate the criminal
more quickly- and even help to build the legal case and process
crimes faster, saving money on litigation and legal fees.

3

Real-Time Interaction
With Shoppers

For independent grocer Macey's, a member of Salt
Lake City-based retailer cooperative Associated Food
Stores (AFS) that operates 10 stores in Utah, introducing mobile scan-and-checkout technology has been a way to
improve not only customer loyalty, but also customer feedback:
At the end of a shopping trip, the retailer's app asks customers to
rate their visit and leave a comment.
"This feedback allows us to respond to what our customer
is telling us in real time," says Greg Welling, director of pricing
and data analytics for Associated Retail Operations, a division
of AFS. "We can correct overlooked conditions in the store or
perform service recovery immediately."

With Apps, Shoppers Want More
Than to Skip Checkout
No doubt, a scan-as-you-shop app's main goal is to reduce
or eliminate checkout time. It takes more than that, however,
to develop an app that people will actually want to use - one
bad feature or function, and users might just want to skip
back to the traditional checkout line.
Last year, Fayetteville, Ark.-based Field Agent commissioned a 36-person mystery shop using Walmart's new Scan
& Go technology, which, although the retailer has since
abandoned the program, provided revealing comments that
can be useful for other grocers seeking to implement such
a solution. Among their comments, shoppers who enjoyed
Walmart's app clearly suggested that their desire to use
it wasn't based solely on its ability to eliminate checkout:
Price checking, ease of scanning and even an appealing
interface also were critical attributes of a scan-as-you-shop
app that patrons enjoy using.
Here are six of the users' comments that grocers should
take to heart when developing their own apps:
"Looking up produce was simple."
"I like that I can double-check the price before I purchase."
"[It's] similar to online shopping."
"Even a child could do the scanning - it's so simple."
"The app is very smooth, with nice animations.
We lost our network
connection while
shopping for a min"I like that you can enter a payment
ute, and it handled
method into the app, which makes
it gracefully."
checking out super-easy."

162

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4

Empowering Associates

Although many of the benefits that come
from scan-as-you-shop technology are
immediately customer-facing, some are
geared toward workers. Some would
argue, for instance, that scan-as-you-shop technology
takes power from cashiers. On the other hand, others
could say it gives power to them.
For instance, Skip's technology allows associates
operating an event in the parking lot to scan items for
people seeking to check out without having to go into
the store, Thomason says. Beyond events, larger food
retailers that might have a section outside the store's
main footprint stand to benefit here. As an example,
Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart recently introduced
Check Out with Me, a program that empowers its Lawn
& Garden Center associates by giving them the technology to check out customers and provide receipts on
the spot, eliminating shoppers' need to trek back into
the store. Even though the mega-retailer said it would
scuttle its Scan & Go program, it noted that it would
use learnings from the program for other ongoing tests
such as Check Out with Me.
But empowerment shouldn't be limited to checking
out customers elsewhere - it can encompass other
forms of customer service storewide.
"New self-scanning technologies are often viewed by
unions or store associates as labor-reducing initiatives,"
notes Jon Hauptman, senior director of analytics solutions at Long Grove, Ill.-based retail consultancy Inmar
Analytics (previously Inmar Willard Bishop). "Instead,
such technologies can be positioned as enhancing
service by freeing up labor to redistribute elsewhere in
the store where needed to better serve the shopper."

5

Understanding
Store Design Better

Tracking shoppers' purchase behavior -
and knowing how to curate and replenish
assortment - is a given benefit to having
a scan-as-you-shop mobile app. But an app can also
provide grocers with a way to track and understand
each shopper's path to purchase, Hauptman says.
"Understanding how shoppers travel throughout the
store is extremely valuable in determining display locations, identifying ideal category/aisle flow, and ultimately
designing new stores to best reflect how shoppers
prefer shopping the store," he explains.
For instance, Macey's, by following and listening to users
of its app, discovered that many customers were confused
about how to scan and pay for weighted items through
the app. In response, the grocer placed digital scales in its
produce and bulk sections to make weighing easier. It also
asked its produce team to be aware that shoppers were
using the app, so they could provide directions to, and
assist at, the scales.


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