What is in this article?:
- 2011 Year in Review: Reversal of Fortune
- Return of Food Inflation Boosts Sales, Frays Nerves
- Veteran Industry Investor Seeks to Revive A&P
- Food-Retailing Acquisitions Pick Up Steam in 2011
- Supervalu Takes Steps to Revive Itself in 2011
- Retailers Make Progress in Checkout, Mobile, Coupon Technology
- Supermarkets Refine Positioning in 2011
- Wal-Mart Gets Small While Refocusing on Growth
Retailers Make Progress in Checkout, Mobile, Coupon Technology
By MICHAEL GARRY
Mobile phones, coupons and self-checkout featured prominently in retail technology news in 2011.
Big Y and Albertsons LLC defied industry trends by announcing they would remove their self-checkout lanes in favor of more a personalized checkout experience. But the chains did not set off a stampede as most food retailers stayed pat with their self-checkout systems.
Meanwhile, at the National Retail Federation Show in January, Kroger showed off a self-checkout “tunnel” system, which it developed with Northrop Grumman Corp.’s business unit, Adaptive Optics Associates, and has tested in a store in Hebron, Ky.
Mobile phone technology continued to captivate food retailing in 2011. Numerous retailers released smartphone apps enabling shoppers to make lists, download offers to their loyalty card, and locate products in the store, among other functions. Several retailers, including Hannaford Bros., Fresh & Easy and Green Hills, participated in the Foursquare check-in, location-based mobile service, while Big Y and Jewel-Osco offered deals via the social buying aggregator Groupon.
Ahold USA’s Stop & Shop division went a step further, running a test in 48 stores of a mobile app modeled on its Scan It! handheld shopping device offered to loyalty shoppers in 350 Stop & Shop and Giant/Landover stores; like the handheld device, the smartphone app empowers shoppers to scan products, tally them up and pay conventionally at any checkout, while receiving personalized offers.
On the coupon front, the industry set June 30 as the date when CPG manufacturers would completely transition to a new bar code — the GS1 DataBar — on coupons, which have featured both the DataBar and the traditional UPC-A bar code since 2008. But most manufacturers decided to delay implementation of DataBar-only coupons until later in 2011 and the beginning of 2012, in order to ensure that enough retailers were ready to scan the DataBar and capture its more complex offer information.