Written by Shin Park
It seems that as automation and new innovative technologies facilitate daily life, the more it tries us as humans when our patience is tested. Specifically, it seems as though waiting for something we are ready for sours an otherwise pleasant experience. That’s why companies are constantly trying to improve the customer experience. One bad aspect of a fantastic customer journey can mean trouble for a business.
The Grocery Approach
If there is one thing people hate doing, it’s waiting in line. Whether it’s in line to exit the freeway or to buy groceries, it has a way of getting under people’s skin. Nowadays, grocery stores do anything to improve that for their customers. Trader Joe’s opens a new register if the line is longer than three people, Starbucks does the same if it’s longer than four, Walmart opens up self-checkout en mass. Krogers, also known as Fry’s, took another route.
The Kroger Approach
“Scan, Bag, Go.” That’s the idea behind Kroger’s new strategy to allow customers to own their buying experience. Customers have the option to either use the Kroger app on their smartphone or use one of their easily accessible scanners to scan their items as they shop. The scanning device was convenient in that there were so many of them. You never have to fight someone to get your hands on one, and offered great ease of use.
It’s a very simple scanner with a barcode scanner and a keypad to enter produce numbers. Its design makes it perfect for audiences young and old. After scanning all your products, you just send your basket on the scanner to the self-checkout kiosk and proceed to pay there. Kroger is hoping to save people time waiting in line by forcing people to only pay at the kiosks, instead of spending time scanning their items.
Refining the Kroger Approach
The concept is still new and in development. Currently, Kroger is testing the “Scan, Bag, Go” at a few pilot stores, one of which is in Phoenix, AZ. They will probably be refining the approach before releasing it to every store which shows promise. A main concern of consumers includes not being able to find produce numbers on groceries. Also, having to go to the self-checkout kiosk where there could be a line raises eyebrows. However, customers have commented that the process itself was simple enough to figure out without direction.
Future of Groceries
Kroger’s innovation and attempt at improving the customer experience shows a shift in company values and goals. Instead of being focused on how the company can increase revenue on their end (raising prices, cutting labor, etc.), they are now trying to further growth of their company by appealing to the customer experience. Other grocery stores will probably follow closely behind, developing new innovative technologies and finding creative solutions to inconveniences consumers may encounter. Who knows, maybe “Scan, Bag, Go” will be adopted by stores nationwide.
Special thanks to Michelle Tinsley for her article on Kroger’s self-check out