August 29, 2008 weblog
Stop & Shop Supermarket Chain Goes Hi-Tech
Your next trip to Stop & Shop may be little more than just placing items into your wagon and paying for them at the cashier's checkout counter.
Since 2005, Stop & Shop has been quietly deploying Hi-Tech gadgets in a dozen of their locations. Today Stop & Shop has deployed a variety of digital gadgets in 376 store locations.
These digital devices enable customers to weigh their own produce, order a variety of cold-cuts at the deli counter, by using a video touch screen, and pay without the assistance of a cashier.
The digital gadget that customers will use for shopping is the "Scan It" personal scanner; the way it works is simple. You activate the scanner by reading the barcode on your Stop & Shop loyalty card. This card is similar to the ones use today by consumers for obtaining discounts on certain items. However this system is a lot smarter and also doubles as a sales person trying to get you to buy more groceries.
When scanning your loyalty card, all your past purchases are linked to the "Scan It" personal scanner. As you walk up and down the aisles scanning your groceries, "Scan It" will alert you of special discounts with a gentle ping. Stop & Shop claims that your personal data like your name and credit card information is not communicated over the wireless connection.
Most of the time "Scan It" works fine providing that the barcode is on the item or you know the code for that particular item. For produce you will not find a barcode stuck to a vegetable and you will be forced to search for the code using the scale´s touch screen. This can leave some shoppers frustrated and just shop somewhere else for their produce.
The last stop is paying for your groceries and this can be accomplished in two ways. You can visit the kiosk for small purchases or the long line for your large grocery purchases. Scanning a barcode mounted on top of the checkout device tells "Scan It" that you're done. Now you scan your loyalty card at the check out scanner and you are prompted to pay your bill.
Your grocery adventure at Stop & Shop's Hi-Tech store is now over unless you're one of the un-fortunate ones that have been randomly chosen for an audit. From time-to-time Stop & Shop will randomly pick customers to re-scan all their groceries to see if they come up with the same bill total. Is this random audit to check their automated system or customer honesty?