A Story of New Tech, Innovation & Disruption – This Time at the Grocery Store

This week, we bring you a story of new tech, innovation and disruption – this time at the grocery store! We love hearing about exciting new technology – especially when it’s happening in our own backyard! So, when grocery store chain Kroger announced they were testing a new mobile app and scanner system right here in Richmond, VA, at their Willow Lawn location, we just had to check it out for ourselves.

The new program that Kroger has launched is called Scan, Bag, Go. It could mean goodbye to waiting in line … goodbye to remembering all those coupons … and goodbye to mentally tallying your shopping trip or being surprised by the total when you check out!

Why Richmond?

Glad you asked! Richmond was chosen to test this new technology because we’re considered a tech-savvy population! (Props, fellow Richmonders!) We’re not afraid to try new technology and tend to be early adopters.

As a side note, the Greater Richmond Metro Area often gets chosen as a test market for new products and services because the population here is incredibly diverse. You’ll find people here from all over the U.S. and all over the world! People in this area also tend to be well educated. Having no fewer than four major universities (VCU, UR, VUU, and VSU) and three well respected community colleges (J. Sargeant Reynolds, Richard Bland and John Tyler) in the area will have that effect!

How does this new system work?

Here’s how you use Kroger’s Scan, Bag, Go service:

  • Download the Kroger app on your smartphone or grab a scanner when you walk in the store.
  • Scan your purchases yourself and bag them as you make your way through the aisles.
  • Scan and weigh your produce at the special digital produce scale.
  • Search through the coupons on the scanner and apply them before you check out. (If you have the regular Kroger app, it’s even easier. You can load digital coupons to your Kroger customer card and the coupons come off automatically.)
  • Head to the self-checkout lane to bring up your order and pay; or pay from your mobile phone using the app.
  • Waltz out of the store without waiting in line.

Great system, right?

Display with rows of pockets holding scanners for customers

Photo credit: RTS Labs/Ashley Ray

What will customers get out of Kroger’s new self-checkout system?

Customers gain control. While scanning individual items and bagging them as they go might take shoppers a little longer in the middle of their shopping trips, they will presumably check out faster with little or no wait in line. They can also see how much they’re spending as they go, which is great for people who want to stick to a budget. It’s such a unique way to shop that it will make Kroger really stick out in customers’ minds.

What does Kroger get out of this new system?

In addition to saving labor costs, since customers are acting as their own cashiers now, we presume Kroger is getting a boat-load of data (although we haven’t verified this with them). Think about it. Potentially, data analysts will be able to map out shoppers’ behaviors. They can track what people bought, what order they bought things in, how long it took them between scans, etc. With that kind of information, they could revolutionize the grocery store experience even further for customers by redesigning floor plans and product placements based on the data they gather.

What does this new tech innovation story mean for your business?

The way we do things is constantly changing. Consumers are not only more reliant on technology, they expect high-tech experiences. For example, if you thought you were keeping up with the game or even ahead of it with self-checkout, you’re about to be behind again with this new development – if you don’t adapt and innovate. This reality isn’t just happening in the retail space. We’re seeing it in finance, healthcare, and the non-profit space, to name a few industries.

Every industry has the potential to experience major disruption from tech innovation. The trick is to be ready and aware.

Disruption is happening everywhere. If you’ve got an innovative idea brewing that could save you time and money or solve a problem for your customers, it might be time to pull the trigger. Don’t let your competitor beat you to the punch, and don’t wait too long or you could find you’ve missed the window of opportunity for your cool idea.

If you live in Richmond, you already have a tech savvy, engaged population available to test your new idea! Kroger’s current market testing is proof of that. So, what are you waiting for? Get building and developing!

From prototyping to building: We can help

Businesses in healthcare, finance, retail, and security have worked with our teams at RTS Labs to create innovative solutions that solve their customer’s pain points and set them apart from competitors. What sets the experts at RTS Labs apart from other technology companies is that we won’t just build what you tell us to build. We take every client through a multistep process to ensure your “solution” is feasible and profitable.

Why build the wrong thing when you don’t have to? We start with your customer, validate your idea, build a strategy for success, and then build your product. Developing new technology takes time. Finding the right partner is crucial. Learn more about the RTS Labs process to see if it’s a good fit with your culture and your project.

Got an innovative idea? Don’t wait to start the iterative process and end up coming late to the game. Get those ideas out of your head by putting your RFP (request for proposal) down on paper. Download our RFP writing guide today for helpful hints to get you started.