Giant's easySHOP lets you scan and bag groceries while you shop

Published on: 2015-02-05

Shopper Culture picked up on this interesting new program in trial at Giant Foods:

Their new "easySHOP" technology lets people scan and bag items as they shop throughout the store, then pay at a self-service check-out kiosk and leave. In other words, groceries go into your cart from the shelves and don’t leave until you get to your car.

easySHOP requires Giant’s BONUSCARD loyalty card. The system aims to empower customers by putting more control in their hands. Further, the perception is that scanning one’s own groceries is faster than having them scanned in a check-out line. Finally, the scanner lets people keep a rolling tally of their bill, helping them stay within their budget.

Are there ulterior purposes of this system? Is this a way for Giant to better monitor customer behavior in store? If the scanners contain RFID or GPS, Giant could track exactly how consumers shop the store: the route they take, the time they spend in each aisle or even at each shelf, the items they put in their cart (and those they put back). Another potential benefit to the store is a reduced need for cashiers.

Our take:

Self-checkout has had a rocky start in grocery stores, but slowly more people are coming to use and even prefer them. Giant's new program certainly expects shoppers to realize similar (if not larger) time savings, since their easySHOP system requires a significant shift in shopping habits to use.  How much time will the average shopper save (if any) using the system?  And what will make them decide whether it's worth their while to continue using?

Business questions aside, a host of logistical issues would seem to be present too.  Will there be Giant clerks roaming the aisles to help out shoppers new to the system?  What happens if an item mis-scans or won't scan at all?  Will shoppers have to check out all of their items the old-fashioned way, or will there be a streamlined express lane for people who just need help with a few things?

easySHOP seems full of potential, but the unknowns may be the largest hindrance to significant shopper uptake.

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