- Amid the coronavirus pandemic, retailers are seeing mobile checkout adoption grow while promoting the technology as a safe, contactless and quick option for customers.
- Some companies, like Sam’s Club, had the technology in place pre-COVID to allow people to pay with their phones and skip the checkout lines. The club retailer said the number of new shoppers using its Scan & Go app has increased more than fourfold since the pandemic struck. Kroger said it is making improvements to its existing Scan, Bag, Go system, and Wegmans is rolling out its new SCAN service to more locations ahead of schedule.
- Other companies are just launching their mobile checkout solutions. Associated Wholesale Grocers has introduced scan-and-go technology at its warehouses with technology company FutureProof Retail, allowing its retail members to scan and bag groceries while they shop and complete the transaction with their phones before exiting.
Pre-pandemic, mobile checkout technology was gradually expanding across grocery stores. H-E-B has been expanding scan-and-go to more stores since 2018, while Meijer launched Scan & Go last year at 23 stores in the Midwest. Ahold Delhaize introduced its Scan It! mobile checkout last fall at Stop & Shop and Giant Heirloom, with plans to expand it to more stores.
Research shows most consumers are interested in using a store app for checkout, but the technology overall has received mixed reviews from shoppers and retailers. Kroger hadn't announced updates to its Scan, Bag, Go program in more than two years, while Walmart canceled its Scan & Go platform in 2018, citing low usage. Scanning products individually, it turns out, was seen as burdensome for many shoppers, and particularly those building large baskets.
But the contactless benefits of mobile checkout are outweighing the additional work as shoppers look to avoid checkout counters and get through stores as quickly as possible. Given the changes in consumer behavior since the outbreak, adoption could surge as people look for a quicker, touch-free experience and as more retailers adopt the technology. Fairway Market in New York City, for example, reported in March that it had seen a major uptick in mobile checkout app usage since the outbreak began.
In addition to mobile checkout, retailers are seeing an increase in the use of contactless payment platforms like Apple Pay. Publix, Kroger and Walmart, meanwhile, are promoting their own contactless payment systems. According to a recent survey by Mastercard, more than half (51%) of Americans are now using some type of contactless payment.