The introduction of self scanning — allowing a customer to scan products as they shop — is clearly a good way to speed up checkout for customers and shops alike. But it’s a lot more than that. When Quish’s SuperValu in Ballincollig became the first SuperValu store in Ireland to introduce self-scanning technology for customers it recognised a number of very important factors that make this an even more significant change than it might at first seem.
The evolution of shopping itself is perhaps the most interesting. This is a timely introduction because almost everyone is now comfortable with electronic devices. Therefore, while we would fully expect many customers to still need guidance, the concept of self-scanning is not the puzzling one for most of them that it might once have been.
At the same time the appeal of this offer is not just speed or convenience. Customers will choose goods from the store shelf but will be much more aware of what they are spending. At a tough time for economies across Europe, this is important. It also means those who prefer to shop in person rather than online still get the same access to a running total, ensuring that they are in complete control of their budget.
So self-scanning responds both to a growing customer openness to technology and a continuing need to manage household budgets more carefully. Which is exactly what good retail-based technology — like shopping apps, online shops and reward schemes — should do. It shouldn’t be a gimmick or a nice thing to have. It needs to work — for the shopper and the shop.