Kroger is improving its nationwide Scan-Bag-Go technology that caters to consumer convenience and speedy service. The company will bring it to 400 stores this year, first adding the scanning systems to 19 stores in North Texas, reports say. The Texas stores will be equipped with the technology from March through August, as part of Kroger's efforts to expand its digital capabilities. Kroger already uses algorithms to send customers relevant coupons and is said to be planning to apply algorithms for digital pricing on store shelves.
While Amazon and Walmart have begun testing their own cashier-less systems, Kroger, one of the country's largest "pure" supermarket chains, may be the first supermarket to initiate such an advanced system. The Scan-Bag-Go system will allow shoppers to scan products with a hand-held scanner or smartphone app, facilitating checkout, reducing wait times and making the lines themselves obsolete.
The technology requires that shoppers still have to visit a self-checkout register to pay for orders, but eventually they'll be able to pay directly via the app.
The program, which requires shoppers to scan product bar codes, was tested in 20 stores in 2017. The company plans in the future to take that a step further by allowing customers to skip the physical checkout processes entirely and pay directly in the Kroger app after scanning items. It's unclear when exactly this feature will be introduced, but it could greatly change Kroger's in-store shopping experience.
Smartphone self-checkout could draw consumers to Kroger. Grab-and-go stores with smartphone-based self-checkout are the retail innovation consumers are most likely to use, according to a study from Retail Info Systems. This suggests consumers are open to the new technology, because they're interested in reducing shopping time and adding convenience. The scanning innovation is particularly popular with Gen Z shoppers, so could bring younger consumers to the stores which might become their go-to grocer as they age.