LAKE ZURICH, Ill. -- About 200 customers of Scotty's Home Market here are testing a hand-held computer with a built-in scanner that scans items to create a shopping list they can transmit directly from the device.
"We'll probably look at some results over the next eight to 12 weeks to see how it works and then consider making it available to more of our customers," said Scott DeGraeve, founder and president of the home-delivery service.
"To add an item to the shopping list, the user points the scanner at the bar code on an item or in a product catalog. Items can also be added to the shopping list by making a selection from the master list stored in the scanner's memory.
"How we envision people using this device is that they will keep it in the kitchen and as they go to throw an empty box in the garbage, they will scan the item and add it to their list. We believe this will be an easy way to keep track of what has been used in the household during the week. The device eliminates remembering what you need or preparing time-consuming paper lists," he noted.
Once the order has been completed, the scanner is returned to the cradle to transmit the order. "It is far easier than scrolling through dozens of Web pages to find and select desired items," DeGraeve noted. Users with a personal computer can download the shopping list to their PCs and add items by visiting the Web site before completing the order.
"They can upload the items they've chosen with the scanner to their on-line shopping cart. From there, they can take a look at the weekly specials."
"Or, perhaps, they decided they wanted ice cream and haven't ordered it before, so it is not on their master list. They can do a key word search and add it," DeGraeve said. "Then, if they want to add the new item to their master list permanently, they can download it back to the scanner," he noted.
However, users can strictly use the scanner, which was developed by Symbol Technologies, Holtsville, N.Y., and uses software from HighPoint Systems, Cambridge, Mass.
"What is nice about the system is that you don't need to be Web savvy to use it. You can just upload from the scanner without going to the Web."
"Also, the portability is an exciting feature, so we hope that customers will find it can turn unproductive time into productive time. They can use it while waiting for the kids at soccer practice or while they're on the train," he said.