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A Personal Take on the Evolution of Scan It!

A Personal Take on the Evolution of Scan It!

It’s rare that I get a bird’s eye view of the retail technology I cover for SN, but that has been the case with the Scan It! shopping system offered by Ahold USA’s Stop & Shop/Giant-Landover division.

As a regular shopper at my local Stop & Shop in Danbury, Conn., I’ve been using the system for many years. I’ve always been attracted to its self-scanning function, which allows me to scan items as I proceed through the store, thereby speeding up the checkout process. To a lesser degree I appreciate – and sometimes take advantage of – the targeted offers that appear on the device.

The Scan It! device offers me control over every step in the shopping process in exchange for scanning my products and weighing my produce on a bar-code generating scale (the slowest part of the trip). At the checkout, I seek out a self-checkout lane near customer service that is usually unoccupied, upload my order to the POS, pay, and I’m done. I order my deli items via a kiosk for pick-up later so there’s no waiting at the deli counter either.

On June 22, Ahold USA, which received SN’s 2012 Technology Excellence Award in the chain category, will be making the handheld functionality available on an app for shoppers at my store that I will be able to install on my iPhone. I plan to do this, though no doubt a full shopping trip will exhaust my phone’s battery. Still, it’s too cool to pass up.

By the end of the summer, Ahold USA will have rolled out the Scan It! app to all 351 of its handheld-enabled Stop & Shop and Giant-Landover stores. This will make Ahold USA the king of mobility in the U.S. supermarket industry, at least for now.

What’s perhaps most impressive is how Ahold USA has stuck with this technology over nine years as it evolved from a tablet to a handheld device to a smartphone app. That patience may be about to pay off.

While usage of the handheld device has been relatively low – around 7% of shoppers, though they are loyal shoppers – I suspect Scan It!’s popularity will grow with the widespread release of the app.  And it is still early days in the app’s development. Ahold USA is looking at adding other functions developed by Scan It!’s software provider Modiv Media (acquired last week by Catalina Marketing), such as list-building, coupon sharing on Facebook and a coupon wallet, and is even considering a pay-with-your-phone feature.

There is little question mobile phones will be increasingly integrated into the food-shopping experience, with companies like Ahold USA leading the way. I’ll be watching as I make my way down the aisles at Stop & Shop.

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