Dollar General Is Rolling Out Scan and Go Technology to More than 100 Stores
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With online stores poaching many customers from traditional brick-and-mortar retailers, digital technology is providing a way for these businesses to offer unique customer experiences.
One of the more ubiquitous applications of digital technology in the last few years has been to give customers new ways to cut down on the time they spend in-store doing their shopping. Many supermarket chains - such as Sam's Club and Macy's, for instance - offer devices or apps which customers can use to scan their products as they take them from the shelves. Once they have everything they need, they go through a special checkout which weighs the shopping. If the bags don't weigh more or less than they should, the customer simply pays, and they're done.
This obviously adds an extra layer of convenience as customers can bag their shopping as they go, and don't have to queue to wait for a conveyor belt checkout which, depending on who you get in front of you, can involve a lengthy delay (coupons, anyone?).
One company which recently took the scan and go concept to a completely new level was of course Amazon. Not content with complete domination of the ecommerce space, the online behemoth decided it wanted a slice of the convenience store market as well.
(Video source: youtube.com)
Amazon Go is a new kind of convenience store which has done away with checkouts altogether. Customers scan their Amazon app on the way in, and items are automatically added to their digital basket as they are removed from the shelves. When the customer has finished shopping, they simply walk out, and the cost of the items is taken from their Amazon Wallet.
Now the time has come for Dollar General to get in on the scan and go action. At #123 on the Fortune 500, Dollar General is the world's largest dollar store, and the first of its kind to offer a scan and go option to customers.
Initially due for piloting at ten Dollar General locations in Nashville, with plans to roll out to 100 more in the second quarter, the retailer's new scan and go app has been named (perhaps inspired by Amazon) DG Go!.
DG Go! works much in the same way as any other scan and go technology by letting customers scan their items on the app as they do their shopping. The app keeps a running total of what they have in their baskets and allows them to pay at a separate self-serve checkout, avoiding the lines at manned registers.
The app will also automatically apply digital coupons where applicable and will notify customers if a product they've scanned is part of a special deal, such as buy one get one free deal. During trials, Dollar General discovered that those customers who made larger purchases at its stores were the same people who tended to engage most with its digital tools, making DG Go! ideally placed to make the shopping experiences of these people easier and more convenient.
"All of this makes staying on budget easier," said Dollar General Chief Executive Officer, Todd Vasos. "As we continue to develop this app, we intend to integrate more functionality to deliver an even more personalized shopping experience. With nearly 75 percent of the U.S. population currently within five miles of a Dollar General, we have a unique opportunity to help shape our customers' digital shopping behavior, all the while leveraging our nearly 15,000 brick and mortar stores to help them save time and money."
Dollar General joins industry heavyweights such as Kroger, Urban Outfitters, and Meijer, who have all either launched, or are presently testing, scan and go technology in their own stores. It's not all clear sailing, however, and it's not just a case of putting the technology out and hoping it does well.
Walmart found this out to its detriment recently, when its own scan and go innovation failed to find a foothold with customers. Shoppers reported difficulties with scanning large numbers of products and voiced particular pain points when it came to loose products such as fresh fruit and vegetables.
This means it's important for companies to consider their audience when introducing scan and go technology and do everything in their power to ensure it's suitable, easy to operate, and accompanied by the appropriate support to assist customers who may be having difficulties.
Scan and go, and other digital innovations, are set to be hot topics at Future Stores Miami 2019, taking place in February at the JW Marriot Miami, Florida.
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