NEW YORK (AP) — Shoppers at self-checkout lanes scanning all their groceries after they’re done shopping? Old school. More stores are letting customer tally their choices with a phone app or store device as they roam the aisles.
For customers, scanning as they go can be faster and make it simpler to keep track of spending. For stores, the big expansion of this technology coming this year costs less than installing more self-checkouts.
Like many changes in retail, the expansion of scan-and-go comes from retailers trying to make store shopping more convenient and hang on to customers used to Amazon, which just opened a cashier-less store in Seattle. And like other automation technologies, it shifts more of the work to shoppers while freeing up employees for higher-value tasks. That’s especially critical as stores look for ways to make their workers more efficient as they wrestle with rising wages.
The convenience of scanning while she shops is what Kari Malinak likes. She just started using the technology at a Walmart in Fort Worth, Texas.
“I’m a persnickety shopper,” Malinak said. “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.” She says she also likes the idea of having a running total of spending as she shops.
The technology, while slightly different from chain to chain, allows shoppers at stores like Kroger and B.J.’s Wholesale Club to scan UPC codes on items as they shop. It can be used for lots of products beyond just groceries, and people change their minds about something, they can delete items and change quantities before they check out.
Some stores allow payment directly from the phone, with a greeter then checking over the digital receipt, while others require shoppers to go to a self-checkout lane or a kiosk to finalize their purchases.
A big push is coming this year from big chains: Kroger Co., the nation’s largest traditional grocery chain, is adding the scan-and-go technology to 400 stores. Walmart is testing the service in 120 stores, while all its Sam’s Club stores, which number around 600, have it. B.J.’s…