Albertsons differentiates with Shop 'n Scan
The US supermarket chain Albertsons has rolled out self scanning in more than one hundred of its stores in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, and believes that the system will positively differentiate Albertsons stores from those of its competitors.
In our soon to be published Loyalty Guide 2004 we make the point that differentiation in the retail sector is becoming ever more important if customer loyalty is to be maintained and new customers are to be attracted. This timely announcement by Albertsons does much to reinforce this view.
After conducting pilot tests of the Shop 'n Scan system since October 2002, first in a group of stores under its Jewel-Osco banner in the Chicagoland area and then in an expanded pilot programme under its Albertsons banner in the Dallas/Fort Worth division, Albertsons is introducing it into all Albertsons stores in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Shop 'n Scan technology offers customers the option of scanning and bagging their groceries as they shop in order to have better control over their budgets, being alerted to special offers in the aisle as they shop and reducing total shopping time by checking out at an Express Pay Station.
More control According to Larry Johnston, chairman, chief executive officer and president of Albertsons, "We are focused on innovations in our format that can make our customer's lives easier and also significantly differentiate us from other food and drug retailers in the markets we serve. Customers have told us they want more control over their shopping experience and they want to eliminate lines at the checkout counter."
Loyalty card holders only Shop 'n Scan handheld units reside in a central kiosk at the entrance to each store. To obtain a personal scanner, customers scan their Preferred Savings card, which unlocks the handheld device for use. Customers then move through the store on their shopping trip, scanning and bagging their purchases as they go.
As customers scan their groceries, the handheld unit records their purchases, alerts them to special offers and keeps a running total of the total spent so far. During the checkout process customers have three options: they can use a traditional checkout lane, use a self-checkout lane, or use an Express Pay Station (which is available only to customers using Shop 'n Scan). To check out, customers scan an 'end of trip' barcode and the entire order is automatically downloaded into the cash register.
Shop 'n Scan technology was developed by Albertsons through a partnership with Symbol Technologies and NCR. The handheld device runs off a wireless in-store network developed in conjunction with Cisco Systems.