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Self-scan mobile application for UK retailers launched to speed self service

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Scan and Pay (SCAP) – a new self-scanning mobile application for the UK Retail sector and a first in the industry – has been launched in the UK. The SCAP solution allows shoppers to store shopping lists, self-scan their shopping baskets, redeem coupons and pay for goods, all via their mobile phones.

System trials in Europe have already shown that SCAP removes the problem of queues at the checkout, improving customer loyalty and boosting customer satisfaction levels in store.

To date, thousands of stores in the UK, Central Europe and the US have rolled out self-scanning solutions, yet there are limitations to the current technology available. The self-checkout till is the most popular system used today but this can be time consuming for shoppers to use; it doesn’t handle baskets with more than 10 items very well; and the tills take up a lot of space in store.

Alternatively, some retailers have implemented a system whereby the customer picks up a shopping terminal upon entry to the store and scans their own items as they shop. However, this technology has proven to be costly to implement and maintain for stores.

SCAP was recently developed by Norwegian software developer Scan and Pay AS, and UK coupon and voucher services provider Valassis has partnered with the innovative Scandinavian company to make the solution available to the UK.

SCAP fills a gap in the market and is the first self-scan mobile shopping application to be available in the UK. With SCAP, the consumer’s own mobile phone becomes the shopping terminal, with the phone’s camera acting as the barcode reader.

Once shoppers have downloaded the SCAP application to their mobile phone and registered with a participating store they can begin to pick items, scan product barcodes and bag items as they go. When the consumer has completed their shopping they simply check-out at a self check out or at a designated paystation.

A barcode is then scanned at the payment terminal, initiating the retrieval of the totalled transaction data and the payment is processed – be this with cash, card, or where possible, by tapping a phone with NFC (Near Field Communication) capability on the terminal. The shopper is then able to leave the store having only had to queue to process the payment.

The mobile shopping solution is available on all of the leading mobile platforms, including iOS (iPhone), Android, Windows, S60 (Nokia), Java and RIM (Blackberry).

Anke Puscher, Director of Business Development Europe, Valassis, says: “The majority of consumers are time pressured when they are doing a grocery shop, so being confronted by long queues at the tills is the last thing they want to see. Whilst the current range of self-scan solutions in use today have gone some way towards speeding up the check-out process, there is still some consumer frustration around ease of use and they are most suited to handling smaller baskets. This is where the SCAP solution is a huge leap forward for the grocery sector and other multi-lane retailers, putting customers in control of the scanning and check-out process as they shop and utilising a now commonplace device, which people always keep to hand.”

SCAP has added benefits for retailers with loyalty systems as when consumers register for the app, they can also register their retailer loyalty card and points will be rewarded as usual. Retailers can then keep track of consumers’ shopping patterns and make appropriate offers. Even if a retailer does not run a loyalty scheme, SCAP enables retailers to build a profile of each user based on the purchase behaviour and send offers direct to their mobile phone.

Puscher continues, “The SCAP solution will appeal especially to grocery retailers because it is relatively inexpensive to implement and maintain and it improves the customer shopping experience. And unlike the current self-scan technology being used, it doesn’t take up any physical space within the store. Critically, the benefits of SCAP extend beyond self-scan capabilities – there is also the opportunity to store shopping lists, redeem coupons and make recommendations to shoppers in real-time as they move around the store. SCAP has the potential to take care of all shoppers’ needs through a single mobile app, whilst also giving retailers the opportunity to target shoppers with personalised offers based on their shopping preferences.”

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