Retail & Tech: Self-Scanners (Tesco)

Some retailers use scanning technology to make the shopping experience easier for their customers. For instance, Tesco offers their customers a mobile scanner that enables them to “scan as you shop”. Although this piece of technology is only appearing in some of the larger Tesco stores, it has a high perceived usefulness.


Why use self-scanning technology?

  1. The shopping process is much faster as customers can pay for their groceries at a dedicated “scan as you shop” area of store and they do not have to unload their items.
  2. It allows shoppers to track their spending as they shop, giving them more control on their grocery shopping experience.
  3. The “scan as you shop” scanner can make the shopping experience more entertaining for customers shopping with their children.

What are the issues with self-scanning technology?

  1. Although the “scan as you shop” adds value to customers, certain products, such as alcohol, must be scanned by a sales associate because they have security tags.
  2. This piece of technology is quite expensive, as the hardware will require a high initial investment cost and the software needs to be incorporated with the Enterprise Resources Planning (ERP) and the Point of Sale (POS).

Author’s thoughts

Since the retailer has not included this service in all of its stores, we can assume Tesco is testing the value of this offering. There seems to be great value for customers, especially those with large families, so international big box retailers with large supermarket format stores can benefit for incorporating in their in-store offering. The “scan as you shop” scanner will be as useful for parents who shop with their children as the children friendly trolleys and the “amusement parks” that some retailers offer in their locations.


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