Countdown is testing a contactless Scan&Go service where hi-tech scales know what you’re buying and customers can skip the regular checkout for an easy in-store shopping experience.
Available from this week at Countdown’s busy Ponsonby store in Auckland, Scan&Go lets customers shop via an app – scanning, bagging and paying for their groceries all from their smartphone. Specially-designed scales in the produce area use image recognition to identify which type of fresh fruit and vegetables customers choose, including letting you know if you’ve left your keys or phone on the scales, or telling the difference between different types of apples.
Countdown’s General Manager Brand and CountdownX, Sally Copland, says customers are looking for innovation to help make shopping easier, faster and at the moment, contactless.
“Buying groceries is one of the few universal basic needs, and while online shopping continues to grow fast, the majority of Kiwis still visit a supermarket in person at least once a week, and often more. Just like the online space, in-store customers are looking for innovation too,” says Copland.
“At the moment there’s an understandable focus on physical distancing and minimising contact, but even without that, the option to have your bags in the trolley as you shop reduces time spent shopping which is particularly handy for customers popping in and out, or if you’re like me and juggling kids who tend to get restless once it’s time to head for the checkout.”
Customers using the app can pack groceries straight into their bags as they go, doing away with double handling; exit the store with a QR-coded receipt through a dedicated lane, and keep a running total to help stay on budget.
“This trial is not only about testing our new tech, but seeing how our customers respond to a new style of shopping. Scan&Go will give us some real insight into how Kiwis want to shop and how we can continue to make that easy for them,” says Copland.
“While many people might still see tech like AI in the realm of science fiction, the scales are a great example of how technology can improve our everyday lives and save us time.”
Countdown Ponsonby was selected partially due to the lunchtime crowd it attracts, however overseas trials using similar technology have also proven popular with customers doing bigger shops.
Scan&Go is one of a number of tech innovations Countdown’s digital arm, CountdownX, is working on to enable customers to better shop how they want and respond to increased demand.
These include overhauling its myCountdown app to simplify the online shopping process nationwide; introducing Olive the chatbot to help with 3000 daily customer conversations online; launching Kai the safety robot at Countdown Rototuna; developing a Priority Assistance online shopping service; rolling out Countdown Pharmacy online, and opening the country’s first dedicated eStore in Auckland. eStores are also planned for Grenada North in Wellington and Moorhouse in Christchurch.