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Scanning your groceries yourself with the supermarket’s handheld scanner is something you may well have already done. Instead of waiting in line for a cashier to scan, tally and bag your groceries, you save time by scanning as you go and doing your own check-out. However, now in certain grocery stores you can go even further by using a bar code scanner app in your own smartphone to scan each grocery item you’re buying and to expand your shopping experience by receiving personalized offers, syncing with loyalty cards and tracking your budget while you shop.

The first supermarket company in the United States to make this available to customers has been the Stop & Shop Supermarket Company LLC, with its Scan It! Mobile app service. Starting with three grocery stores and plans to roll out the capability to 45 more of its stores in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut, the company could extend the service to the 400 or so grocery stores it operates in total, including the other states of New Hampshire, New York and New Jersey.

How Can You Use a Bar Code Scanner App?

By using a grocery shopping app like this in your smartphone, you can not only get directions on how to find the store in the first place, but once you’re STOP-SHOP-SCAN-IT-APPthere, you can also get relevant and specific offers according to where you are in the store and what you’ve already bought. With targeted coupons being sent to your smartphone for each shopping trip, you can save money as well; Stop & Shop estimates possible savings for customers on groceries of between $250 and $500 per year. The grocery shopping app also gives customers access to online accounts, including checking for gas points, A+ School Rewards and personalized savings, as well as to daily information about sales promotions for stores in general.

To use the app to scan your groceries, you aim the camera of your phone at the bar code of a grocery item to see the price on your phone screen and to add it to an electronic shopping basket. When you’ve finished shopping, the bar code scanner app transmits the information via the supermarket’s Wi-Fi network to the point of sale, where you pay as you would normally. The same wireless network also allows the retailer to send you personalized information.

Innovating for Faster, Less Expensive Groceries

The grocery shopping app that Stop & Shop is using was developed in partnership with Modiv Media, a company offering mobile marketing solutions as well as more conventional in-store bar code scanning solutions. Other grocery stores and chains are also putting mobile bar code scanner apps to work in original ways. In the U.K., grocers are experimenting with quick response (QR) codes as well as product bar codes and making it ever easier for customers to getting their grocery shopping done. Online U.K. groceries retailer Ocado put up a vinyl wall poster over an empty store front so that passers-by could scan articles with their smartphones for home delivery. “Bricks and mortar” competitor Tesco PLC used a South Korea subway station for a similar trial.

Happy customers and increased sales are not the only benefits for grocery stores making such bar code scanner apps available to customers with smartphones. Because the customer has in effect already financed the scanning device (the smartphone), grocery stores can envisage making corresponding savings by reducing the amount of in-store scanners they have to buy, as well as decreasing labor costs, which are typically between 12% and 15% of their total expenses.

Check Your Smartphone Compatibility

Using your mobile to do this means having a compatible smartphone. Currently for the Scan It! Mobile grocery shopping app you’ll need either an iPhone® 3GS or 4G, or a compatible Android™ device: the list validated so far includes Android 2.2 running on Nexus One, Motorola Droid1, Samsung Galaxy, and HTC Thunderbolt 4G. The app can be downloaded for free at the Apple® App Store, or the Android™ Market.

Stop & Shop: http://www.stopandshop.com

Modiv Media: http://www.modivmedia.com/

 


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