Sticking with the theme of using retail technology to improve customer experience – this week we learned how Sainsbury’s have announced plans to expand their mobile Scan and Go trial from three stores to ten as they continue to test consumer reaction to using new interactive and mobile technologies.
To use the Scan and Go service, shoppers must first download a free app onto their smartphone which enables them to use the phone as a barcode scanner – allowing them to scan their items whilst they shop and reducing the need to queue or scan at the checkout. Once their trolley or basket full of goods has been scanned, shoppers then take it to a special Scan and Go self-service checkout to pay for the items. Following the first successful trial of the service, Sainsbury’s are now looking into methods for enabling shoppers to pay for the goods using their mobile phone as part of the app – thus eliminating the need for checkouts (and queues) altogether.
After initial successes at smaller stores, the trial is being expanded from three Sainsbury’s Local stores to include larger stores such as the Sainsbury’s hypermarket in Colney near St Albans. As Sainsbury’s chief information officer Rob Fraser explains, based on initial indications the idea is more likely to be rolled out across further Sainsbury’s stores than its fast track scanner service – in which Sainsbury’s gives shoppers their own handheld scanners to take around the store – as Scan and Go is cheaper to provide. Hand held scanners are currently available in 40 stores and Fraser reveals:
“Customers in those stores love it, but the economics didn’t quite justify a full roll out, the economics on mobile Scan and Go is much better, but we do need to make sure it all makes sense for customers.”
It works out cheaper because shoppers use their ‘own’ scanners – ie their smartphone – instead of Sainsbury’s ‘relatively expensive’ hardware – all Sainsbury’s have to do is develop and provide the app.
In addition to Scan and Go, Sainsbury’s are also planning to launch new payment terminals with embedded contactless technology across the UK before Christmas, as their current payment terminals are due to be replaced – as Fraser confirms:
“The next generation of reader we’ll put out will be contactless. Then it will be up to us how hard we push that.”