Automated retail arms race gets more crowded with new app

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Automated retail arms race gets more crowded with Meijer’s new app

The Michigan-based grocery chain launched an app in 23 Chicago-area stores where shoppers can scan items on their phone

March 24, 2019 09:00AM

(Credit: iStock)

Amazon Go has a new competitor in grocery chain Meijer, which rolled out a new app this month letting shoppers scan items on their phones and breeze past the cashier on their way out.

Shoppers at 23 Chicago-area stores where the app is accepted still have to stop by a kiosk to review their order, but they don’t need to take any items out of the cart when they get there, according to the Chicago Tribune.

“You go to the checkout lane, scan a code, and away you go,” said Thomas Dant, director of Chicago-area locations for the Grand Rapids, Michigan-based grocer.

Meijer began testing the new service last year at its store in northwest suburban Rolling Meadows. It took some time to catch on, but 80 percent of shoppers who tried the app used it again, Dant told the Tribune.

The app takes after similar self-checkout services now offered by Sam’s Club and Macy’s. But all three programs still ask customers to review their purchases before they leave, unlike in Amazon’s rapidly-growing footprint of Go stores, where cameras track purchases so shoppers can head straight for the door.

Amazon has opened four Go stores in Chicago since its first venture outside Chicago last fall, with more expected to follow in the coming months. [Chicago Tribune] — Alex Nitkin

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