Photo: Barbara Elliot, a Scan and Go expert at City Market in Granby.  Photo by Michael Turner

The way that consumers shop in-store is fundamentally changing. Shoppers at self-checkout lanes scanning their groceries after they’re done shopping is a thing of the past. Old school, if you will?  City Market in Granby has opted for a new alternative allowing customers to Scan and Go with a phone app or handheld store device.

The rise of ‘Scan and Go’ technology, coupled with other industry developments, is helping retailers overhaul the buying experience. So, what do retailers need to know about Scan and Go, and what are its benefits?

Scan and Go technology is designed to make the shopping experience simpler, faster and more convenient. Just as barcode technology transformed the efficiency of retail stores in the early 1980s, Scan and Go is set to become retail’s next great disruptive technology, improving a range of existing retail practices.

Last week I spent a few minutes speaking with Barbara Elliot, City Market spokesperson and master of the Scan and Go system in Granby.  Barbara’s words of encouragement gave me the confidence to give it a Go. Feeling like I was born a couple of decades too soon, I got my geek on and headed out with my grocery list and a portable scanner in hand, ready for a new shopping experience.  

The convenience of scanning while shopping is actually very efficient, although the system has a few quirky workarounds to master. The first stop was produce. Scanning fruits and vegetables is next to impossible with the handheld scanning device. I quickly discovered the trick: Scan the barcode then grab the item you want. One advantage of the Scan and Go system is processing the produce purchases. No more picture searching at the self checkout stand. The scanner knows what I selected and easily translate the purchase to the scales.

I quickly moved through the store making my selections, checking prices and adding items to my shopping bag – in my cart.  A handy calculator on the scan device keeps a running tally of items so you can see what you are spending as you go. The best part of the experience is the check out.  My items were already bagged. I weighed my bags for confirmation, swiped my card and out the door I went.

I bought a small cart of items totalling about $75 in two bags. I could see a large cart being an adventure, but for my needs it was a good experience. I will definitely use the system again.  Overall, I give the City Market Scan & Go two thumbs up.

“We’re trying to make shopping more convenient,” said Barbara Elliott, employee at City Market in Granby.  And for shoppers who find it most convenient to go the traditional route with a cashier scanning their purchases?  “Our goal is to provide customers with a variety of options so they can check-out however they prefer.”

Just as self-checkout machines are more efficient than waiting in line for an assistant to scan items and process your payments, Scan and Go is the next logical step in streamlining and enhancing the in-store experience. For customers, scanning as they go can be faster and make it simpler to keep track of spending as you shop. For stores, the technology costs less than installing additional self-checkout lanes.  And like other automation technologies, it shifts some of the work to shoppers while freeing up employees for other tasks. That’s especially critical as stores look for ways to maximize workforce efficiency.