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How Mobile Technology is Transforming Grocery Retail Handheld scanning devices that make a trip down the aisle faster, easier, and better informed.

Big advancements in mobile technology mean that shopping carts aren’t the only things on the move in grocery stores anymore. According to a 2015 study nearly sixty percent of shoppers use their phones while shopping for groceries. From checking off lists to looking for coupons and comparing prices, customers are reaching for their mobile devices to save money and time. Now grocery retailers in the US and UK are catching up with their own innovations.

Fast Track to Check Out

At Kroger stores in Ohio and Kentucky, customers can pick up a hand-held wireless scanner to check out items as they shop. To pay, customers scan a special bar code when checking out. The successful program, called Scan Bag Go, expanded in November 2015 to 15 additional stores. UK grocer Tesco has a similar program called Scan as You Go that even allows shoppers to pack their own bags as they go, eliminating the extra bagging step.

Mobile Shoppers Are Empowered Shoppers 

In-store smartphone apps, too, are streamlining the shopping experience. Apps like Grocery Pal and Coupon Sherpa enable customers to compare prices and find discounts, but now grocery stores are offering their own apps that build customer loyalty. Stop and Shop, a supermarket chain in the Northeastern United States, has an app called SCAN IT! Mobile. Like the Scan Bag Go system, the free app enables customers to scan items with their phones and check out by waving their iPhone or Android at checkout. The app also links with customers’ loyalty cards, alerting them to special deals tailored to their purchase history.

Only the Essential Ingredients

When shoppers have all the tools they need for saving money and getting through checkout at their fingertips, the need for employees, technology, and space is significantly reduced. Retailers and shoppers alike can look forward to a day where a trip to the store is completely mobile: just bread, milk, and a smartphone.

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