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Countdown launches Scan&Go technology trial

Countdown Scan&Go

New Zealand grocer Countdown has unveiled its contactless shopping Scan&Go technology which allows customers to scan, bag and pay for their groceries – all from their smartphone.

For loose items, like produce, artificial intelligence uses image-recognition technology to detect the goods placed on scales while customers just photograph packaged goods to add them to their virtual basket. 

Countdown’s GM brand and Countdown X, Sally Copland, says customers are looking for innovation to help make shopping easier, faster and – at the moment – contactless.

“Buying groceries is one of the few universal basic needs and while online shopping continues to grow fast, the majority of Kiwis still visit a supermarket in person at least once a week, and often more. Just like the online space, in-store customers are looking for innovation too”.

Shoppers scan an item and it is added to their virtual list for checkout.

The company has aligned the new shopping service to the current situation of the pandemic where physical distancing and minimising contact is needed.

Customers using the app can pack groceries straight into their bags as they go, doing away with double handling; exit the store with a QR-coded receipt through a dedicated lane, and keep a running total as they shop to help stay on budget.

Copland added that Scan&Go will give Countdown a real insight into how Kiwis want to shop and how the company can continue to make it easy for them.

“While many people might still see tech like AI in the realm of science fiction, the scales are a great example of how technology can improve our everyday lives and save us time.”

The new service is already available at the Ponsonby store in Auckland, selected partly because of the lunchtime crowd it attracts, however overseas trials using similar technology have also proven popular with customers doing bigger shops.

Scan&Go is one of a number of tech innovations Countdown’s digital arm, CountdownX, is working on to help customers have a better shopping experience including overhauling its MyCountdown app to simplify the online shopping process nationwide and introducing Olive the chatbot to help with 3000 daily customer conversations.

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