Get Ready for Contactless Retail with Self-Scanning and Scan-and-Go

By Christian Floerkemeier, CTO & Co-Founder, Scandit

The COVID-19 pandemic has created the need for ‘contactless retail’. Retailers have a safeguarding responsibility to their customers and employees, to help them stay safe by offering contactless shopping options that minimise human interaction. This is the new reason for grocery retailers to deploy self-scanning and Scan-and-Go services.

Faster, easier and frictionless shopping
The promise of faster, easier and “frictionless shopping” in store has motivated numerous high street chains to invest in Scan-and-Go in recent years. With the right high-performance computer vision software, any camera-equipped smart device can be transformed into a powerful barcode scanner. Retailers use the technology to let shoppers’ scan barcodes using their own smartphones – and then either pay for goods at a self-checkout kiosk or pay through the app.

Cut waiting, increase space, protect revenues
Since COVID-19, retailers are looking for ways to reduce the waiting time that we’re all now experiencing just to get into stores. These queues/lines clearly result in lost revenue either from customers going elsewhere or from the lower throughput of customers in stores.

So, the goal is to create more space and reduce the amount of time each customer spends in-store each shopping trip. Scan-and-Go shopping is an obvious tool that can help, as the retailer will benefit from the speed of shopping as much as the customer enjoys it.

Cut risk with a clean and contactless approach

Traditional bespoke scanners pose an obvious hygiene risk for shoppers, and an extra burden for retailers to manage adequate cleaning between use. As a result, some retailers have suspended their use. Driven by the new demand for clean and contactless shopping, retailers are bringing forward existing plans and accelerating rollouts for self-scanning and Scan-and-Go mobile apps using barcode scanning software. Since COVID-19, some of our existing customers are seeing a doubling in the number of in-store transactions going through self-scanning services that run on customers’ own smartphones.

Retain and win more customers
Self-scanning has been proven as a powerful way to increase customer engagement. In an increasingly data-driven industry, self-scanning is also a valuable source of customer behaviour data for analysis. Tracking app usage alongside regular store KPIs is a good way of assessing performance in several areas: store footfall, check-out wait times, buying patterns, basket sizes, revenue, costs and customer satisfaction can all be captured and measured.

Getting started
Expert advice is needed to achieve a successful deployment of self-scanning. As with any customer service, user experience is the key. An obvious crucial factor is the performance of the scanning software – it must work first time, every time on any mobile device model your customers are using.

Brick-and-mortar retailers will have to accelerate their digital transformations to compete with online shopping and meet the new demands for safety. Ultimately, the need to blend the physical and digital worlds remains stronger than ever in our new contactless society.

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