- Wegmans is ending use of its scan-and-go shopping app on Sept. 18, the grocer said in an email to shoppers who use the service. Users of the app are receiving a $20 digital coupon, the email noted.
- A Wegmans spokesperson confirmed the plans to phase out its SCAN app and said in a statement: “Unfortunately, the losses we are experiencing from this program prevent us from continuing to make it available in its current state.” The spokesperson did not respond to a question about what the “losses” refer to but did note that Wegmans is turning off the app “until we can make improvements that will meet the needs of our customers and business.”
- The end of scan-and-go at Wegmans comes at a time when grocers are reevaluating their in-store technologies and frictionless checkout opportunities.
Wegmans initially rolled out its SCAN app in 2019. In its Monday email to shoppers, Wegmans said that it quickly scaled the app at the start of the pandemic to offer more contactless in-store shopping options.
“SCAN users have told us they love the app and the convenience it offers. We love it too and have tried many adjustments to keep it,” the grocer wrote.
People who used Wegman’s scan-and-go offering took to social media to mourn the program’s upcoming end date. Many noted that the app allowed them to skip the long lines that can form at the grocer’s stores.
— Jim C from 716 (@connollyjamesp) September 12, 2022
Wegmans told customers it “will continue to introduce new digital solutions to streamline your shopping experience for the future.”
Scan-and-go technology has had a complicated relationship with retailers and customers. While many shoppers hail it as a convenient and faster alternative to long checkout lines, retailers and experts have bemoaned the elevated shrink, which can be intentional or mistaken, that often comes with the service.
Gary Hawkins, founder and CEO of the Center for Advancing Retail & Technology, said the only option most retailers have to prevent theft is to perform random checks of scan-and-go users’ carts before they leave stores. That makes theft a fairly common occurrence, he said, which drives up shrink.
Scan-and-go technology was plodding along several years ago, then accelerated when the pandemic placed newfound emphasis on safety and contactless options, he said.
“I’m not really surprised to see Wegmans pulling it,” Hawkins said. “I think every retailer I have spoken to that has deployed some type of scan-and-go capability in their app, every one of those saw their shrink go up.”
In a statement issued to local media, Tops Friendly Markets said on Monday that its Shop and Scan app has boosted its in-store experience, noting “unfortunately theft is a part of an everyday occurrence, however this is carefully monitored by random audits” to maintain the integrity and accuracy of the system.
Walmart has had an on-and-off relationship with scan-and-go. In 2018, the retailer ended its tests of Scan & Go at stores in a few states, but has recently reintroduced it for Walmart+ members.
ShopRite stopped updating its Mobile Scan app in the first half of 2021, along with its PharmacyRx app, according to an analysis by Apptopia. A Wakefern Food spokesperson said Mobile Scan is still available in 51 ShopRite stores.
Other grocers, including Meijer, H-E-B and Hy-Vee also have scan-and-go offerings.
While retailers can tweak their scan-and-go programs to minimize shrink, like tying the program to higher spending shoppers, Hawkins said he views that technology as a waypoint on the path to computer vision, like Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology, and fully frictionless checkout methods.
“I am a big believer in that technology because it brings so many benefits to the retailer,” Hawkins said, noting that the costs associated with computer vision technology are continually decreasing and that retailers in Europe, in particular, are aggressively experimenting in this area.
Editor's note: A Wakefern Food spokesperson told Grocery Dive after this article was originally published that ShopRite's Mobile Scan app is still available.