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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Scan IT! at Stop & Shop

In aisle scanning continues, competing with automated checkouts. The claim is that 40% of people now use some form of automated checkouts. Here is another update from Stop & Shop where they continue to test hand scanners. I participated in some of the innovation center design analysis of this system when it was developed by Symbol. We asked many consumers about their reaction to the service and many liked it, though they had concerns about dealing with another 'system they had to learn. Motorola acquired Symbol and Modiv Media now makes the software.

The article makes the point that the idea may attract customers through convenience, but it is ultimately a labor eliminating play for the retailer.

It seems that there is less activity with shopping cart attached displays, which in some cases also include scanners. Another concept we tested. Most notable is Mediacart which saw much press in 08 in conjunction with a partnering with Microsoft. In January 08 I saw that they were linking with a small chain called Wakefern for a test. A quick search shows nothing new about them since last January.

A more passive related idea that does not scan, is the cart-handle based Modcart from Modstream.

Update: More on this, includes a photo of the engagement display for the scanners.


Ron said...

I'm not surprised that Stop & Shop stores would be looking at any means possible to eliminate labor. My daughter works in one of those, as checkout and customer service. The young kids hired to work there are treated as replaceable parts; it stands to reason then that they have trouble hiring and retaining good ones.

The Stop & Shop in my area would be better served by reorganizing the store with more variety and more reasons to eat in or buy ready-made foods.

Wakefern's not a small chain. Not from where I sit, anyway. There are many Shop Rites here.

Franz Dill said...


Good points regarding the labor issue, retailers have had retention and thus retraining issues for some time. Cost competition is putting much pressure on wages being offered.

Prepared foods, with higher margins, are becoming more common in many grocery chains.

Agree I was wrong when I called Wakeferns small. Medium size is a better characterization. There are over 200 Shoprite stores in the NE.

Thanks for commenting.

Anonymous said...

Shoprite is not really small, but it's only really a major supermarket in Eastern PA, the Hudson Valley and New Jersey. It's a small competitor everywhere else.

As for S&S, I agree with Ron. Before S&S replaced Edwards in New York, some Edwards used to have way more in a selection in prepared foods (they sold hot dogs and other cafe foods). When S&S replaced Edwards, it was pretty much one step forward, and two steps back.