QUINCY, Mass. — Stop & Shop here is testing an iPhone app in three stores that duplicates the scan-and-bag functionality of the Scan It! handheld device available to loyalty card shoppers in more than 300 of 560 Stop & Shop and Giant Landover stores, both part of Ahold USA.
The functionality includes scanning, tallying the total dollar amount of purchases, checking out, and receiving personalized offers based on each customer's past purchasing history. The system was developed by Modiv Media here and launched as part of a Motorola handheld device 3½ years ago at about 20 Stop & Shop stores.
The free mobile app, called Scan It! mobile, is being piloted in three Massachusetts Stop & Shop stores in Quincy, Braintree and Plymouth. When the pilot is completed later this year, Stop & Shop will evaluate the timing of a rollout to additional stores in 2012. Designed for the iPhone 3GS or 4G smartphone, the app is available at stopandshop.com/scanitmobile or the Apple app store.
“We understand that mobile apps are changing the way consumers shop and are excited to be the first supermarket company in the United States to offer this option to customers,” said Mark McGowan, president, Stop & Shop New England Division, in a statement.
“Anybody younger than 55 will be all over this in a heartbeat,” said Lee Holman, lead retail analyst, IHL Consulting Group, Franklin, Tenn.
Modiv Media expects the mobile app to be more marketable to other food retailers than the handheld device, which has been used only by Stop & Shop and Giant. “The cost for proprietary devices and peripherals was a real challenge for some retailers,” said John Caron, senior vice president of marketing, Modiv Media. He said “another major retailer” has selected the mobile app “as the foundation of their mobile shopping app” and will conduct a pilot by the end of the year.
Stephen Vowles, senior vice president of marketing for Stop & Shop/Giant Food, who joined Modiv Media's board in 2009, said last year at The Aberdeen Group Retail Summit that Stop & Shop was “not too far away” from transferring the Scan It! functionality to mobile phones. The stumbling block to this transition, he noted, was that the scanning capacity of smartphones was still not suitable for a large shopping trip. However, shoppers in the test stores “are telling us that scanning with their iPhone works just as well as the handheld scanner,” said Suzi Robinson, manager, public & community relations, Stop & Shop New England Division.
At the test stores, the Scan It! handheld device will continued to be offered. “As Scan It! Mobile is a natural transition from the hand held device, customers in the pilot locations now have a choice in how they choose to shop - with Scan It! or Scan It! Mobile,” said Robinson.
Stop & Shop currently processes 1 million Scan It! handheld transactions per month, with the majority of Scan It! shoppers repeat users. Last year the company reported that more than 7% of its shoppers used the device in stores where it is available, accounting for more than 10% of sales.