Blog // Connect South Carolina

Grocery shopping the latest to go high-tech

By Jennifer Cobb

Have you ever registered for a wedding or baby shower? How cool are the guns the store gives you to scan the essentials: dinnerware, his & her towels, coffee makers, diapers, wipes, and pacifiers … the store shelving units, too, if you get carried away? It’ll bring out the kid in you, guaranteed.

According to the Nashville Tennessean, Kroger has begun experimenting with a similar technology, Personal Assistant Liaisons, or PALs. They are devices that allow customers to “Scan, Bag, Go.” While shopping, customers have the opportunity to bag the groceries they want as they shop and the PALs keep a running total of the grocery bill so that when they hit the checkout all that needs to be scanned is that total bill and then they’re good to go.

The purpose or goal behind this technological experiment is to get customers in and out of stores, as the number 1 complaint is the wait at the registers. With PALs, the aim is to speed up customers’ shopping trips and those who choose to shop traditionally should see shorter wait times at checkout.

Other ideas to help speed up traffic in the stores is the development of a mobile app, a scan tunnel that records items being purchased versus scanning them before being bagged, and loyalty cards with deals for those who shop with a PAL.

Although the testing is still limited to certain markets and not yet widespread and there are challenges to face with how many PALs should be available per store, there is potential for great results, including saving money for stores and saving time for customers.

What are your thoughts? Would you participate in the “Scan, Bag, Go” project if it were available in your area?

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