Grocery Stores Zig Zagging With Technology

September 23rd, 2011 by Rich Christiansen

The self-checkout was a brilliant novelty when it was introduced to grocery stores several years ago. Customers and grocery store managers alike thought it would improve the flow at the checkout and the customer’s overall shopping experience.

However, store managers are discovering this technology is actually creating problems they never anticipated. Checkout lines are usually longer because customers have to deal with coupons and checking items like produce by themselves. In addition, store managers feel they lost control of the relationship with the customer by eliminating the personal contact of a store employee at the checkout stand.

So now, even after stores have installed dozens of self-checkout stands in each of their locations, they are zig zagging away from the technology to improve customer experience and thus increase revenue.

Albertsons has actually gone as far as eliminating self-serve lanes in all of its stores. Kroger, on the other hand, has zig zagged to what it calls “metro style” checkouts; customers wait in one line and can be directed to multiple cashiers.

Kroger is also testing a “scan, bag, go” system that allows customers to scan items as they shop, and then pay and bag when they are finished.

These are all ways grocery stores are zig zagging to more success and better customer service. We can all learn to be a little bit more flexible—even after we have made a big initial investment. As each of these cases show, it is far better for a company to evolve by zig zagging in order to stay true to company values and to keep on track to its ultimate goals .

 

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