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Video: Making Shoppers Happy

Supermarket shopping is often described by consumers as mundane, a chore, even “dreaded.” Oh boy.

Retailers have acknowledged the gripes and have pursued multiple strategies to make the event more interesting — or quicker, at the very least.

An article on the subject of shopping technology in the current issue of The Atlantic cites a study by the website Retrevo, which found that 43% of shoppers with smartphones have downloaded a retailer's app. But when it comes to using it in the purchase process, only 14% percent have tapped the icon.

Why? Retrevo concludes that most retail apps don’t really do anything; that is, they do not help complete the shopping experience, and in no way embellish it or make it more convenient.

UK-based Tesco would take issue with that. Take a look at this video and appreciate the retailer’s ingenuity and solution-based selling:

Note how Tesco even changed its name to reflect its delivery abilities.

Back stateside, the supermarket industry can’t touch that level of insight, but they’re trying. Stop & Shop, for instance, has announced plans to expand its Scan It! program next year. The system, launched several years ago using store-supplied handheld devices, is now moving to smartphones as an app. The function allows shoppers to scan, total up and bag groceries while they shop, with extra features like personalized offers based on purchase history and location in the store.

One of the shopping prediction highlighted in The Atlantic article was "No More Checkout Lines!"

“With technologies such as Google Wallet, customers can pay for products without having to scrounge for a credit card, cash, or check. Just swipe your phone over a payment sensor and voila, you've paid for the items you want to purchase,” the author wrote.

If such an option takes root and grows, that’s going to free up some amazing front-end real estate. Just think of what it could be used for! Some retailer is going to figure out how to improve the shopping experience with technology, and then let’s see what consumers say. Those South Koreans sure seemed happy.