Meijer’s expansion of its Shop & Scan feature is in line with an industry-wide trend of using technological innovations to make grocery shopping a more efficient and seamless process, with 49% of retailers naming in-store mobile experience as a top priority.
Streamlined, self-service in-store shopping is still relatively new, but more retailers are giving it a try. Since Amazon pioneered cashier-free technology at its Amazon Go stores, other retailers have accelerated their rollout of scan-and-go technology in an effort speed up the front-end experience. Kroger launched its Scan, Bag, Go service to 400 stores last year, and Sam’s Club has also piloted scan-and-go technology, most recently unveiling a new computer vision feature to make it even faster.
Meijer has been keeping up with the retail tech movement, offering curbside pickup and using the online shopping and delivery fulfillment service Shipt to provide e-commerce for customers through Meijer Home Delivery, which has been popular with shoppers. Online grocery sales accounted for only 2% of Meijer’s total transactions in 2018, according to an estimate from Meijer’s director of digital user experience — a number that’s in line with consumer adoption across the industry.
“This technology joins our curbside pickup and home delivery programs to provide yet another option for Meijer customers to personalize their shopping experience,” company CIO Terry Ledbetter said about the service when it was first launched. Shoppers like to have options these days, particularly millennials, so adding an in-store innovation is an important way to keep curious customers engaged.
Doubling down on in-store shopping experiences with features like Shop & Scan shows the retailer is still focused on a brick-and-mortar approach as it struggles to build online sales.
Meijer is making other innovative investments in physical stores. Last year, the company opened a new 30,000-square-foot urban concept store in Michigan focusing on fresh products and a neighborhood feel. That market, along with several others the company has planned, offer a fresh new look for Meijer and a way for it to penetrate dense urban markets.
When it comes to customer service, Meijer is resonating with shoppers, landing the second spot on Newsweek’s America’s Best Customer Service 2019 list for the superstore and warehouse club category. With efforts like Shop & Scan, Meijer gives hurried shoppers another option to get their grocery shopping done quickly, and this should help boost the company’s reputation while staying competitive with other tech-focused retailers.