While the “big two,” Amazon and Walmart, have jumped into their own tests of cashierless technology, the nation’s largest pure supermarket chain isn’t just standing by. Kroger plans to expand its “Scan, Bag, Go” technology to 400 stores in 2018, enabling shoppers to scan products with a provided handheld scanner or with a smartphone app, according to a report from Business Insider.
The technology isn’t as sophisticated as the cashierless tests at Amazon Go and Walmart, which are designed to eliminate the concept of checkout entirely. But while Kroger shoppers still will have to visit a self-checkout register to pay for their orders, eventually shoppers will able to pay directly via the app.
The pilot is presently under way in 20 Kroger stores.The technology keeps a running tab of a shopper’s total order and offers applicable coupons. Future functionalities include alerting customers when they walk past an item on their pre-selected shopping list.
The cashierless concept is similar to Walmart’s own “Scan & Go” technology, which also lets consumers use a handheld device to scan barcodes and complete checkout at a self-service register. The “Scan & Go” technology is deployed in more than a dozen stores in Texas, Florida, South Dakota, Arkansas, Georgia, and Kentucky.
Kroger is seeking to expedite checkout processes with this rollout as part of its “Restock Kroger” initiative, which is designed to enhance the store experience as a whole via a physical makeover. As digital — particularly mobile — exerts a greater influence on the in-store shopping experience, the retailer is leveraging data to revamp its product assortment and optimize shelf space. Beginning in 2018, Kroger plans to optimize category assortment in 20% to 30% of its stores per year.