- California Fresh Market, a new grocer based in San Luis Obispo, CA, has become the first store to discontinue the use of checkout lines, Progressive Grocer reported.
- Consumers can instead use the store's mobile app to scan barcodes and add products to their total purchase, monitor their running total and check on specials and other information.
- When they are ready to complete their purchase, consumers checkout by using the app to scan a QR code located at the front of the store, which charges either a credit card or Apple Pay.
Other retailers have pursued this type of self-scanning technology, which goes a step beyond the self-checkout technology that manufacturers have been concerned about in the past. But California Fresh Market is the first store in the world to implement this technology from day one of its opening on Nov. 9.
The question now is whether this trend will pick up steam and become widely adopted among mainstream grocery retailers nationwide. In 2014, technology provider NCR Corp. predicted that self-checkout adoption at supermarkets had hit a tipping point. Retailers could be looking for new technology that could set themselves apart from competitors and develop customer loyalty thanks to increased convenience.
However, two main concerns surround this type of technology. First, criminologists at the University of Leicester recently posited that mobile scan and pay technology could promote theft at grocery stores because of the removal of human contact at checkout. They argue this may generate significant losses for retailers, cutting into their profitability.
Another potential issue hinges on smartphone use. While a large percentage of consumers have smartphones capable of using this app, many still do not, particularly among certain demographics and socioeconomic classes. This could lead to complaints of discrimination against these groups who tend to not adopt the latest technology or who cannot afford it.