By far the shopping cart technology with the most traction in the food retailing industry is the Scan It! device available in about 250 Stop & Shop and Giant Food stores operated by Ahold USA, Quincy, Mass.
Housed in a portable handheld scanner from Motorola, Holtsville, N.Y., and driven by software from Modiv Media, Quincy, Mass., Scan It! allows loyalty card shoppers to scan and bag all of their purchases and pay at the checkout without additional scanning; it also delivers targeted offers that are triggered by a shopper's location in the store and other factors.
Following a detailed article in SN on Scan It!'s progress (See “In Control,” SN, Sept. 21, 2009), Stephen Vowles, senior vice president, Stop & Shop/Giant Landover, provided further insight on the device at the LEAD Marketing Conference held last month in Rosemont, Ill.
Scan It! users account for 7% of transactions and 10% of sales, which puts Stop & Shop past the break-even point for the technology investment (5% of transactions and 8% of sales), said Vowles. Still, he noted that the chain can still make much more progress with consumer adoption of the technology. “We need to, and over time we will.”
Overall, increased sales (from larger baskets and more frequent trips) make up two-thirds of the benefit of Scan It!, with labor savings contributing the other third, he added.
Scan It! allows CPG manufacturers to deliver offers more accurately than can be done via the Sunday FSI coupons, said Vowles. For example, non-users of products can be given larger discounts, while current buyers can be given smaller offers to prevent them from switching. Moreover, manufacturers can tweak offers or turn them off, based on how customers are responding — something that some manufacturers are starting to do.
In the future, Scan It! users will be able to go online and indicate what information they would like to see with their food selections — such as whether it is gluten-free, low in sugar, etc. That information would then be displayed on the Scan It! device with each purchase. “It's a great vehicle for giving shoppers highly relevant value,” said Vowles.
Vowles would also like to see Scan It! deliver targeted food offers based on a shopper's medication purchases, though privacy issues would first have to be addressed.
Vowles encourages other retailers to offer similar programs. “We think in-store media has a great future, but it needs development and we don't want to be the only people doing it,” he said. Vowles is on the board of Modiv Media, the software supplier for the Scan It! device.